The UK government has announced a new programme named Cyber Runway, which aims to support at least 160 organisations and companies in the UK’s thriving cyber sector. The scheme will benefit start-ups and scale-ups in particular, with access to business masterclasses, mentoring, and product development support over the next six months.
The programme is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, (DCMS) and is available to all four nations of the UK. It will be delivered by Plexal in partnership with CyLon, Deloitte, and The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT).
The scheme will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and new businesses to network, and will also give backing for them to trade internationally and secure investment to develop their ideas commercially.
The UK cyber security sector is currently worth £8.9bn, and revenue grew by 7% in the last financial year, with the number of companies increasing by 21%. Previous cyber growth initiatives have typically tripled the revenues of participating companies year on year, the government press release claims.
Minister for Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman said: “Cyber Runway will promote growth across the UK with a particular focus on Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the North East, North West and South West of England to support the government’s levelling up agenda.”
He added: “Much of the activity will build on the success of emerging cyber hubs such as Cheltenham, Manchester, Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow and Edinburgh.”
Warman also explained that the programme would support founders and innovators from a diverse range of backgrounds, especially underrepresented groups in the cyber sector, such as women and people from black, ethnic, and minority backgrounds.
The need for effective cyber security has been exacerbated by the pandemic, as businesses and organisations were forced to bring their operations online wherever possible. A recent global survey by insurance group MMB found that cyber security was one of the top concerns of UK respondents, Security News Desk reports.
Remote working in particular can leave businesses vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The BBC reports on an industry survey which found that 56% of senior technicians believed their employees had picked up bad cyber-security habits while working from home.
Nearly two in five workers admitted that their cyber security practices at home were less thorough than those practiced at the office. One of the biggest errors identified is the moving of company data to personal email accounts. This removes two-factor authentication and makes it easier for the attackers to exploit the data.
There has been a significant increase in the number of coronavirus related phishing emails, aimed at employees of global companies, which exploit uncertainty and changes to IT systems. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Google reported that it was blocking over 100 million malicious phishing emails a day.
At the moment, a particular trick is to send out emails promising fake vaccination appointments, which tempts the recipient to click on infected links. Once a hacker can access the company’s systems, they can have the power to fraudulently send out invoices and gather confidential information.
It is advised that firms whose employees are using personal devices for remote working should have them carefully screened for malware.
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