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Volume 579: debated on Wednesday 30 April 2014

In 2011 we launched the national cyber-security programme, which was the first centrally co-ordinated programme of cyber-security funding by the Government. Up to 2016 we are investing some £860 million in overall cyber-security funding, as a tier 1 national security priority.

The Home Affairs Committee is concerned that there appears to be a black hole where low-level e-crime is committed with impunity, and we know that is costing businesses £800 million a year. What is the Minister’s assessment of whether the move to IPv6 will help, and what he is doing to make that happen?

The majority of cyber-attacks and cybercrime can be prevented by basic internet hygiene, and by individuals and businesses ensuring that their cyber-security and internet protection is up to date and that all the latest patches are installed. We estimate that something like 80% of attacks can be prevented by that. The level of awareness is much higher than it was, but we have some way to go.

Given the amount of money that the Minister said is being and will be spent, what level of co-ordination across Departments is taking place to ensure that cybercrime is, if not eliminated, significantly reduced over the next year?

We are doing much more to co-ordinate than has ever been done before, and last month I launched CERT UK, which includes the cyber-security information sharing partnership that some 400 companies now belong to. The sharing of information, which was very inhibited before, is now taking place to a much greater extent. There is more we need to do, but Britain overall is not in a bad place on that. However, we need to move fast because those who wish to undertake cybercrime and cyber-attacks are moving pretty fast too.