Published 28 Nov 2019

The Labour Party has announced in its manifesto a commitment to overhaul the UK’s cybersecurity infrastructure, including a review of the role that the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) plays and the creation of a coordinating ministry.

The manifesto warns about the threat that cybercrime poses to national infrastructure—such as transport systems, the National Health Service, nuclear facilities, and communications networks—as the nation becomes increasingly more reliant on digital technology. To address this, the manifesto states:

“We will also review the structures and roles of the National Crime Agency (NCA), to strengthen the response to all types of economic crime, including cybercrime and fraud, and ensure a modern, technologically advanced police service that has the capacity and skills to combat online crime, supported by a new national strategy on cybercrime and fraud.”

The manifesto also promises a review of whether the NCSC’s role should be expanded to give it auditing powers over public and private sector organisations. It also states the party’s intention to create a new co-ordinating minister to oversee and regularly review cybersecurity issues to ensure the country is ready to face any cyber-related issues.

The announcement comes after the Labour Party’s digital platforms experienced distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, where large networks of compromised computers are used to disrupt an online service. The party claims that while the attacks did cause some disruption, the integrity of its systems remains intact and no data was breached. A party spokesperson said in the wake of the cyberattacks:

“We have experienced a sophisticated and large-scale cyber-attack on Labour digital platforms. We took swift action and these attempts failed due to our robust security systems. The integrity of all our platforms was maintained and we are confident that no data breach occurred.”

The Labour Party also announced in its manifesto a pledge to establish a Charter of Digital Rights. This would oblige tech firms to address online abuse and see them face fines if they fail to do so. A Government white paper already called for greater regulation earlier in the year, however, so it could be argued that this is hardly new.

The Conservative Party manifesto had not been released at the time of writing, but cybersecurity has been a government priority for some time already. This includes a recent “call for evidence”, whereby stakeholders were invited to provide feedback about the government’s interventions to date and provide input about further actions.

One matter the two main parties agree on is that cybersecurity is one of the greatest issues facing the country as it becomes increasingly more reliant on digital technology. While it is reassuring to know that all the major political parties are taking cybersecurity seriously, the ultimate responsibility lies with individuals and businesses to protect themselves. If you have concerns about cybersecurity in your organisation, we at Pro-Networks can help you work towards a secure-by-design approach through an IT security audit.

 

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