UK looks to 'design out' cyber threats via hardware

January 28, 2019 //By Nick Flaherty
UK looks to 'design out' cyber threats via hardware
The UK government is to provide up to £100m (€110m) for projects that tackle cyber security at the hardware level in the Digital Security by Design challenge

UP to £70m of the funding comes through the UK's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and would be backed by further investment from industry to ‘design out’ many forms of cyber threats by ‘designing in’ security and protection technology into chips and other hardware.

A further £30 million of government investment will aim to ensure smart systems are safe and secure. Smart internet connected devices can include anything from operating a central heating thermostat via a smart phone, to pressing a button to unlock the front door. There are expected to be more than 420 million such devices in use across the UK within the next three years. Power systems are particularly vulnerable to attack. 

"This could be a real step-change in computer and online security, better protecting businesses, services and consumers from cyber-attacks resulting in benefits for consumers and the economy. With businesses having to invest more and more in tackling ever more complex cyber attacks, ‘designing in’ security measures into the hardware’s fabric will not only protect our businesses and consumers but ultimately cut the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses," said Greg Clark, business secretary.

Over 40% of UK businesses have experienced a cyber-security breach or attack in the last 12 months. Hackable home Wi-Fi routers can be used by attackers in botnets to attack major services and businesses. Moreover, consumers are often the worst affected by mass information leaks than the organisation that held their data. Businesses are having to spend increasing amounts on cyber security, up to 20-40% of their IT spend in some cases. And as more and more systems are connected, whether in the home or businesses, there is a need for security that is secure by design.

"We’re moving the burden away from consumers to manufacturers, so strong cyber security is built into the design of products. This funding will help us work with industry to do just that, improving the strength and resilience of hardware


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