The UK’s newly created National Cyber Advisory Board has held its first meeting in London, bringing together expertise from across the country to set out an agenda to protect and promote the UK’s interests in the digital world, and counter cyber threats.
Chaired by chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Dowden, who replaced Nadim Zahawi in the post after Rishi Sunak’s elevation to Number 10, and Lloyds Banking Group CISO Sharon Barber, the board’s inaugural session took place ahead of the planned launch of a campaign to tackle cyber fraud in the run-up to Christmas.
The meeting follows the September 2022 release of figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), revealing that there were 2.7 million incidences of cyber-related fraud targeting organisations and private individuals in the UK in the 12 months to March 2022, making it the third “most-targeted” nation for cyber attacks, behind the US and Ukraine.
Among some of the topics under discussion were the government’s Whole of Society approach, laid down in the £2.6bn National Cyber Strategy, improving the UK’s overall levels of security and resilience, better preparing the country for evolving threats and risks, and using cyber capabilities to protect the public from cyber crime, digitally enabled fraud, and hostile states.
“Protecting and promoting the UK’s interests in cyber space cannot be achieved in isolation, it must be a shared endeavour between government and all parts of the economy and society,” said Dowden.
“We have seen how cyber attacks are increasing, putting the UK and our businesses and services on the frontline of global threats. That’s why this new National Cyber Advisory Board is so important, bringing leaders from across industry, the third sector and academia to share information and expertise on how to build and protect our digital economy and services.”
Barber added: “The digital world is ever changing, and businesses and the government must continue to adapt, innovate and invest to protect ourselves, the public and our data – that’s why we need everyone around the table through the board working together to help keep individuals and businesses safe online.
“Only if we ensure everyone plays their part in the UK’s cyber future will we prosper from the opportunities that the online world brings,” she said.
The board’s membership includes techUK CEO Julian David, UK Cyber Security Council chair Claudia Natanson, ICO executive director of regulatory futures Stephen Bonner, Tech Talent Charter co-founder and CEO Debbie Forster, Plexal innovation director Saj Huq, and Queen’s University Belfast pro vice-chancellor of engineering and physical sciences Chris Johnson.
Other organisations at the table include online fashion retailer Asos, advisory practice Brunswick Group, and high street stalwart Marks and Spencer, while the tech sector is represented by voices from Cisco, Google Cloud, Microsoft, Secureworks and Vodafone.