THE BLOG

The Cyber Manifesto

13/05/2015 11:04 BST | Updated 12/05/2016 10:59 BST

Three issues appeared to dominate the battle for the recent election; Health, the economy, and immigration. This comes as no huge surprise, as such issues have dominated as the key battleground in previous elections. In 2010 it was the three E's (Economy, Education, Employment), with immigration a key issue in 2005, and health a key issue in 1997 and 2001. No doubt in 2020 we will see these issues dominating the debate between the main political parties.

As we consider the opportunities, and indeed risks to a prosperous Britain the one area that failed to receive any proportional recognition amongst the main parties was the cyber manifesto. As Francis Maude said at the second anniversary of the Cyber Security Strategy; "Central to our approach is the desire to make the UK a safe place to do business". Developing strong market conditions in order to promote investment can have a positive impact on the economy. The European Commission strategy for unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe aims to deliver a net gain of 2.5million jobs by 2020 for example.

The current environment related to conducting business in the UK, as it relates to the impact of cybercrime are not entirely positive where according to the recent study conducted by CSIS; "North America, Europe, and Asia lost the most, while Africa lost the least. Income levels are a good predictor of cybercrime, as wealthier countries (or firms) are more likely to be targets".

Although not a major topic in the campaign spotlight, we did see all of the major parties provide measures to attempt to address the growth in cybercrime in their respective manifestos. With the Conservative party winning an overall majority, let's take a look at what newly re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron's proposed policies mean for the cyber landscape.

Cybercrime in the new government

The Conservative manifesto pledged to improve responses to cyber-crime with reforms to police training and expansion of "Cyber Specials" - volunteers from outside law enforcement with the skills to tackle cybercrime. It's great to see that cybercrime is beginning to be considered as a mainstream crime. However, while relying on volunteers and training the police force is one element, this needs to extend to better public and private sector partnerships if we are to truly tackle cybercrime head on. The recent collaboration between Intel Security, Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the Dutch authorities, the U.S FBI, and other private sector partners to take down criminal infrastructure supporting a 'polymorphic' botnet called Beebone is one example of collaboration in action. But if we are to seek out and target threats in real-time, closer ties between the public and private sector is key.

It's also important to remember that perpetrators may be attacking from beyond these shores - it's a global crime, which requires a global solution. Consequently, the new government needs to consider how it can better work with international governments to defeat cybercrime. We have seen such measures introduced by the European Cybercrime Centre with the introduction of partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, as well as private sector resulting in multiple successes.

If we are to keep up the pace of innovation, educating the next generation of digital entrepreneurs is key and it's promising to see the new government acknowledging this, with the promise to: "help teachers to make Britain the best country in the world for developing maths, engineering, science and computing skills". However, beyond general technology skills, there also needs to be a specific focus on cyber security. We need to create a framework for cyber security education in order to breed the future experts in this space, who will be able to tackle the threats of the future.

Cybercrime is a global growth industry; many crimes today have a cyber-component that not only demands a new set of skills, but the challenge of managing an investigation that is often initiated from other geographical jurisdictions. Establishing the framework to address this evolving threat is of paramount importance to the new government, as the set out to achieve their economic and political goals for the UK.