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 recent ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack affected organisations around the world, including over 60 NHS trusts, some of whom cancelled operations and clinical appointments. In 2015, the Ukraine 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 UK 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.
This note focuses on critical national infrastructure, the majority of which is privately owned. Many sector-specific regulators cover aspects of cyber security, with varying enforcement powers and responsibilities, but much of the Government’s support to private operators consists of optional information sharing, guidance and assessment. 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
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.