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Government cyber-security initiatives are working to make the UK safe

 

At school children begin to learn how to read, write and navigate their way around a computer from when they’re three or four years old. This is a 21st century education. There’s no denying that computer skills are now an integral part of the school system, and subsequently, a vital life skill. However, many people are still oblivious to the risks which the internet can pose.

At school children begin to learn how to read, write and navigate their way around a computer from when they’re three or four years old. This is a 21st century education. There’s no denying that computer skills are now an integral part of the school system, and subsequently, a vital life skill. However, many people are still oblivious to the risks which the internet can pose.

The internet is a largely faceless realm where people can take on any form behind the mask of a website or email address. There is a huge element of trust involved in internet interaction. People trust that their personal information and account details are going to be held in a safe and private database behind a firewall of antivirussecurity. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

The amount of crime online is on the rise. Currently, cybercrime is estimated to cost the UK economy £27 billion a year. And it’s no longer about just safeguarding your computer. The wide array of web accessible devices available on the market means that you have to protect your MacBook, smartphone and tablet amongst others.

A survey last year found that more than half of the UK population had been targeted by cyber criminals through online scams and spear-phishing tactics. This highlights the need for individuals to be assertive and take responsibility for the protection of their private devices. Installing high quality computer or mobile antivirus software is a necessary measure.

With the help of a £650 million investment, the government has pledged to make cyber-security a vital component of national security plans. Individuals, businesses and government institutions will all be a factor in government approaches to making internet use safer in coming years. A number of initiatives have already been introduced with the aim of improving public knowledge and understanding at all levels of society.

The IT curriculum in primary and secondary schools is undergoing a huge transformation, changing its tact to be more about security and coding on the internet. In terms of higher education, universities are starting to incorporate PhD studies on the internet with the aim of acquiring more research and knowledge on the topic. GCHQ, a key aspect of the UK’s National Intelligence and Security machinery, is running apprenticeships to find and train cyber security experts of the future.

The Get Safe Online initiative is another way for the government to educate the population about safe internet practices. This web-based resource is the UK’s leading source of facts and easy-to-understand information on online safety. 

The government also part funds the national Cyber Security Challenge, which is currently a university-run competition which tests the best cyber-security minds in the country in a series of mathematical code tests. The Challenge’s intention is to unearth extreme cyber talents who can help protect the nation from potentially destructive cyber-attacks.

In the latest cyber development, a government run site called the Cyber-Security Information Sharing Partnership (Cisp) is expected to be unveiled and will be used to build a database of information relating to cyber hacking attacks. Online security specialists, businesses and government officials will contribute to the site to help UK businesses protect themselves from hacking attacks.

Initiatives like these are a huge step towards making the UK a cyber-smart nation. But they are not a one-stop solution. Measures like these need to be continually updated and new ones need to be implemented to ensure the country’s national cyber-security is as strong as it possibly can be. Any hole in the firewall could be a crack for a serious cyber-attack to break through.

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