Out-Law News

GCHQ to pilot sharing of cyber security threat information with businesses

UK intelligence agency GCHQ will share "classified cyber threat information" with telecoms companies "at scale and pace" in an effort to prevent government networks and other critical national infrastructure from falling victim to cyber attacks.

The information sharing commitment is a pilot initiative aimed at using "GCHQ's unique capabilities and insights gleaned from its intelligence and security work to illuminate the critical threats in cyberspace", GCHQ said.

The scheme was due to be confirmed by Sir Iain Lobban, GCHQ director, at a speech at IA14, a conference run by the UK government on cyber security and information assurance.

In a bid to support the development of more UK-based cyber security businesses, GCHQ also said that "limited amounts" of its intellectual property could be declassified and made available to new companies to work with.

In his speech at the IA14 conference on Monday, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude revealed details of a recent cyber attack that infiltrated UK government systems.

"I can tell you of a recent case where a state-sponsored hostile group gained access to a system administrator account on the government secure intranet," Maude said. "Fortunately this attack was discovered early and dealt with to mitigate any damage."

Maude also highlighted the recently launched 'cyber essentials' scheme which enables UK companies to gain independent accreditation of their compliance with cyber security guidelines developed by the government.

Maude said that government suppliers will be required to be certified under the scheme from this October if they are "bidding for certain personal and sensitive information handling contracts".

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