The Government has identified ‘cyber’ as one of six Tier 1 threats to UK national security. This POSTnote focuses on the cyber security of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, describing measures to improve cyber security and challenges in implementing them. It also reviews the new National Cyber Security Strategy, along with international policy and legislation.Jump to full report >>
The number of attempted cyber-attacks on critical national infrastructure is growing. Ukraine has already suffered the first confirmed instance of a disruptive cyber-attack on an electricity network, which caused a power outage that affected 225,000 customers. The Government says that foreign states or state-sponsored groups regularly attempt to penetrate UK networks, targeting in particular the defence, finance, energy, telecommunications and government sectors.
The majority of critical national infrastructure is privately owned. The Government mostly provides non-mandatory cyber security support to private operators, although many sector-specific regulators cover aspects of cyber security, with varying powers and responsibilities. The Government aims to better understand the state of cyber security across UK critical infrastructure, and is currently reviewing regulation to ensure it has the measures in place to intervene where necessary.
POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders. They are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank the following interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing:
Author: Harry Beeson
Topics: Armed forces, Arms control, Aviation, Central government, Data protection, Emergencies and disaster management, Employment, Energy, EU law and treaties, Financial institutions, Health services, Industry, Information technology, Intelligence services, International law, International trade, Internet and cybercrime, Ministers, Offensive weapons, Privacy, Railways, Regulation, Roads, Security industry, Standards, Students, Terrorism, Training, Utilities, Water
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