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Government sets up two new cyber security bodies

The Government will create two new public bodies to help protect Government and citizens from digital security threats. It will set up one strategy body and one operations centre to increase the UK's cyber security, it said.29 Jun 2009

The Government has published a Cyber Security Strategy in which it promises to set up the Office of Cyber Security (OCS) and the UK Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC). They will be functional by March 2010, it said.

It said that the OCS would "provide strategic leadership for and coherence across Government" and that the CSOC would "actively monitor the health of cyber space and co-ordinate incident response; enable better understanding of attacks against UK networks and users; [and] provide better advice and information about the risks to business and the public".

"Just as in the 19th century we had to secure the seas for our national safety and prosperity, and in the 20th century we had to secure the air, in the 21st century we also have to secure our advantage in cyber space. This Strategy – our first national Strategy for cyber security – is an important step towards that goal," said a statement from the Cabinet Office.

"The UK is increasingly dependent on cyber space," it said. "As cyber space continues to evolve, we will pursue the increasing number and variety of benefits that it can offer; however, with growing dependence also comes a greater exposure to the rapidly evolving threats."

The CSOC will be designed to monitor and provide solutions to emerging threats, and will be a "multi-agency unit", the Government said. It will be based in the Government's communications headquarters GCHQ in Cheltenham.

The OCS will be based in the Cabinet Office and will co-ordinate the Government's work on cyber security.

On the issue of e-crime, the Cabinet Office said that the OCS will co-ordinate its action with the Home Office and with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which will soon publish its e-crime strategy.  

"The Government recognises the security challenges of cyber space," said the Cabinet Office's statement. "It stresses the importance of a coherent approach, and it will put in place the structures that the UK needs to weave together new and existing work and drive forward a programme to meet our strategic objectives."

"The Strategy highlights the need for Government, business, international partners and the public to work together to meet our strategic objectives of reducing risk and exploiting opportunities by improving knowledge, capabilities and decision-making in order to secure the UK’s advantage in cyber space," it said.