New alliance between MoD, arms manufacturers and telecoms aims to bolster UK cyber security

The Defence Cyber Protection Partnership (DCPP) includes BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard
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The Ministry of Defence has announced a series of new alliances with defence and telecom firms in order to strengthen the government’s defences against cyber-attacks.

The group, called the Defence Cyber Protection Partnership (DCPP), aims to “meet the emerging threat to the UK defence supply chain by increasing awareness of cyber risks, sharing threat intelligence, and defining risk-driven approaches to applying cyber security standards.”

Nine of the world’s biggest weapon makers and telecoms providers are involved, including BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard. The government’s signal intelligence agency GCHQ is also involved in the project.

Earlier this month, Sir Iain Lobban, director of GCHQ, revealed that the UK suffers from around 70 “industrial scale” cyber-attacks each month. Although the agency would not reveal exactly who was responsible for the attacks, Lobban did stress that many were “state sponsored”.

This comes after the launch of new scheme by the government to highlight the need for national standards of cyber security. The government claims that “93% of large corporations and 76% of small businesses reported a cyber breach in the past year”.

“This is an issue which demands a concerted and co-ordinated approach between government and industry,” said Vic Leverett, DCPP Chair.  “Collaboration between industries and with government has been first class, reflecting the joint commitment to succeed with our 2013 objectives. The whole is proving to be significantly better than the sum of the parts.”

The creation of the DCPP builds upon the UK’s growing commitment to cyber warfare. March this year saw the launch of the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) with similar aims to the DCPP – sharing information on cyber threats across five sectors of the economy: finance, energy, defence, pharmaceuticals, and telecoms.

CISP also created a secure web portal described as a “Facebook for cyber security threads” where companies can share information. A new centre in London was also established alongside CISP to co-ordinate defences. This so-called ‘Fusion Cell’ is dedicated to providing participating companies the most up-to-date information on cyber attacks as they happen.