Select committee urges creation of cyber minister cabinet role

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 20 November 2018 in News
News

MPs and Lords find ‘absence of political leadership’ in government response to cyberthreats

Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Image

Ministers' oversight of cybersecurity threats is “wholly inadequate” in the face of a “potentially devastating” major attack on Britain's infrastructure, a parliamentary committee has said.

The Joint Committee on National Security Strategy said the government had failed to act with “a meaningful sense of purpose or urgency” on growing threats from the likes of Russia.

The body called on Theresa May to appoint a dedicated cybersecurity minister in the cabinet to build national resilience and lower the risk of attacks on sectors including energy, health services, transport and water.

The joint committee said ministers had assessed a major cyberattack on the UK’s critical national infrastructure (CNI) as a “top tier” threat with potentially “devastating” consequences.

"As some states become more aggressive and non-state actors such as organised crime groups become much more capable, the range and number of potential attackers is growing," it said.


Related content


It warned that the 2017 WannaCry attack – which did not directly target the NHS – had “greatly affected” the health service and shown the significant consequences that attacks on UK infrastructure could have.

The group of parliamentarians meanwhile raised fears that current capacity at the National Cyber Security Centre had has already been outstripped by demand.

Committee chair Dame Margaret Beckett, said: “We are struck by the absence of political leadership at the centre of Government in responding to this top-tier national security threat. It is a matter of real urgency that the government makes clear which cabinet minister has cross-government responsibility for driving and delivering improved cyber security, especially in relation to our critical national infrastructure.”

She added: “There are a whole host of areas where the government could be doing much more, especially in creating wider cultural change that emphasises the need for continual improvement to cyber resilience across CNI sectors… Too often in our past the UK has been ill-prepared to deal with emerging risks. The government should be open about our vulnerability and rally support for measures which match the gravity of the threat to our critical national infrastructure.”
 

About the author

Nicholas Mairs is a news reporter for PublicTechnology sister publication PoliticsHome, where this story first appeared. He tweets as @Nicholas_Mairs.

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Interview: How digital had 'a ringside seat' in Singapore's pandemic response
4 February 2021

The Singaporean government’s response to Covid-19 has made extensive use of digital, devices, and data – not always uncontroversially. PublicTechnology talks to Kok Ping Soon, the...

Report calls for ‘more power’ in Whitehall to be centralised
26 January 2021

UK’s top two civil servants should be handed more responsibility as part of drive to make Cabinet Office more effective, says IfG

Related Sponsored Articles

How Your Privacy Program is a Competitive Differentiator
29 January 2021

OneTrust presents the reasons why your organisation should invest in privacy management - and offers three easy tips for getting started 

Email security incidents happen every 12 hours – it’s time to close the gap in Microsoft 365
21 January 2021

The remote-first world has seen email being relied on more than ever as a core communication mechanism - but with 93% of IT leaders acknowledging a risk to sensitive data, what steps should be...

The rapid, low-risk cloud transition solution for Oracle customers
1 March 2021

Jointly, Equinix and Cintra enable organisations with mission-critical Oracle workloads to accelerate their journey to cloud, while minimising transition risks - here's how

How digital is helping Defence Medical Services re-imagine HM Armed Forces healthcare
3 February 2021

Defence Medical Services (DMS) is pursuing ground-breaking digital, data and technology transformation which will revolutionise Tri-Service healthcare provision to over 135,000 Armed...