The UK government is to start sharing high-value cyber threat intelligence with the private sector, critical national infrastructure and select UK communication providers via GHCQ.
This is a big step forwards in addressing the threat from cyber criminals and others who wish harm to our businesses.
The threat to our national interests and those of commerce from cyber is a growing and persistent problem at all levels of business. The programme is the latest step in helping make the UK a centre of excellence for business as digital and cyber are now core to success.
As we move towards a cloud-dominated future, this level of support from CESG – the national technical authority for information assurance – should be seen as a force multiplier for every business's information and cyber security programme.
Innovation in the cyber security space is key to supporting the economic growth and prosperity of the UK. This initiative will help keep the consumer safe as well as businesses. GCHQ is willing to share not only high-value intelligence but tools that will allow the consumption of that intelligence – this shows strong leadership.
Building a strong base of support beyond public sector security organisations is key to the long-term success of the programme as well as ensuring that partners in the US and the EU are able to keep pace and cross borders when sharing information.
It will be important, however, for GCHQ to reassure the general public as well as the business community that the intelligence that will be shared will relate only to bad actors and campaigns that can damage the economy.
Winning the trust of key business communities and continually re-enforcing a message of transparency will be difficult, but it is not impossible.
What is being done by GCHQ mirrors the Obama directive on information sharing in the US, which has been running, in its early stages, for about a year now.
The real story here is in getting people to adopt it and working with government departments.
Will Semple is vice president of research and intelligence at Alert Logic
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