LONDON — Like so much of Boris Johnson’s policy, the U.K.’s new cyber strategy will come in a distinctly domestic wrapper.
Britain’s flagship cybersecurity blueprint should have a „strong link“ to the British prime minister’s key domestic priority of „leveling up“ forgotten regions of the U.K., the minister overseeing the policy told POLITICO, pitching cyber as an opportunity to spread high-skilled jobs across the country.
Speaking ahead of the publication of the U.K.’s latest National Cyber Strategy on Wednesday, Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay called for a „whole of society approach“ to making the U.K. resilient to cyberattacks.
„Regardless of which country we’re dealing with, it’s important that through the National Cyber Strategy, we have a resilient cyber stance where we are training the right level of people. That has a strong link to our leveling up agenda,“ Barclay said.
„Our competitive advantage will come from our ability to nurture and harness talent across the U.K. and get the right people working together in the right ways across the whole public sector, industry and academia, pulling together the whole cyber community,“ the strategy says.
Barclay cited investment in a cyber research hub in Manchester, the biggest city in the north of England, and recruitment to the National Cyber Force in the Lancashire village of Samlesbury, where defense and intelligence experts counter, disrupt, degrade and contest the U.K.’s enemies in cyberspace.
The minister said the U.K. was currently in a „strong position“ when it came to its cyber power, but it needed to make sure it stayed ahead. That means anticipating coming innovations and investing in the right technologies, he said.
When it comes to building up the U.K.’s industrial capabilities and „securing future technologies,“ lessons needed to be learned from the rollout of 5G mobile network technology, Barclay said.
The U.K. government has been left scrambling to find alternatives to what it deems high-risk vendors after a national security decision was made to remove equipment from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from the U.K.’s 5G network.
The U.K. and its allies have faced the „most consistent“ threats from Russia and China this year, the strategy says, with many organized crime gangs launching ransomware attacks against Western targets from Russia.
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