Government to launch cyber security information sharing service


The UK Government will take the wraps off its much-hyped Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnerhips (CISP) today, two months later than planned.

The CISP's aim is to help the Government and private sector firms share confidential information about current cyber security threats and how to manage them.

This information will be passed on to a so-called Fusion Cell service that will distribute it to the scheme's participants to provide them with a comprehensive overview of the threats facing UK PLC.

We know cyber attacks are happening on an industrial scale and businesses are by far the biggest victims.

The cell will be operated by the Security Service, GCHQ and the National Crime Agency, and staffed by 12-to-15 analysts who will be based at an undisclosed location in London.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude claimed the partnership is "breaking new ground" by allowing firms to pool resources in the fight against cyber crime.

"We know cyber attacks are happening on an industrial scale and businesses are by far the biggest victims in terms of industrial espionage and intellectual property theft, with losses to the UK economy running into the billions of pounds annually," said Maude.

"This innovative partnership is breaking new ground through a truly collaborative partnership for sharing information on threats and to protect UK interests in cyberspace."

The project's launch follows on from a 2012 pilot version of the scheme, which featured input from 80 private sector companies.

This time around, 160 companies from the defence, finance, pharmaceutical, energy and telecommunications industries will participate, with more expected to join in due course.

The launch is slightly behind schedule, after Maude told delegates at the Information Assurance conference back in December that the CISP would officially launch in January.

It also comes two weeks after the Home Office announced its Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership initiative, which aims to draw on the skills of the crime fighting, academic and business communities to tackle threats.

Graeme Stewart, director of public sector strategy at security vendor McAfee, welcomed the arrival of the CISP, claiming public-private sector collaboration is critical in the fight against cybercrime.

"McAfee is broadly supportive of such initiatives. We would, however, like to see the scheme provide outreach to include smaller and SMB organisations," said Stewart.

"This sector makes up the supply chains of large corporate and government organisations and therefore a substantial portion of their risk comes from this supply chain failing to understand the threat posed by nefarious cyber activity."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.