BIS wants ISPs to help provide security

13 December 2013

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

The government wants Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide more online protection.

In the latest update to the UK Cyber Security Strategy, the Cabinet Office has outlined its future goals for internet safety, including making online business a safer and more desirable prospect.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude commented: "[We] need to cast our net wider to ensure that people across the UK have a better understanding of potential threats and are better equipped with the necessary protection to go about their business online with confidence."

To this end, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is working with ISPs in the UK on developing a set of principles. These guidelines state, at a minimum level, ISP's need to provide security information to their customers, or point them to other available help.

They must also offer tools to help users protect themselves online or, again, indicate where such solutions can be accessed.

If a customer does encounter a problem, their ISP will be required to support them, providing clear guidance on how to report the incident, potential compromises and other issues that should be brought to their attention.

The announcement has received a positive response from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which believes it will help improve awareness and capabilities among the UK's companies.

CBI's director for competitive markets Matthew Fell said: "Business needs to work collaboratively with government on cyber security and the partnership is working well, for example by providing a safe space for information sharing."

Earlier this year, the government launched the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP), which enables law enforcement authorities, security services and other members of the industry to exchange findings.

It was this partnership that performed the 'Waking Shark Two' exercise with the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority, to test the financial sector's response to an online attack.

By the end of next year, CISP is expected to include over 500 members, compared to the approximate 250 now.

BIS also helped deliver the Cyber Governance Health Check for the top 350 companies on the Stock Exchange, as well as guidance for small businesses, working towards creating an "Organisational Standard".

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