Following on from other articles published by Jenrick IT, specialists in SC and DV IT job opportunities, regarding the increasing role cyber-crime will play within the technology sector, we have just seen this article on The Guardian confirming that GCHQ will be offering assistance to British companies to help them combat cyber-crime: Some of the secret technologies created at the government's eavesdropping centre GCHQ are to be offered to private industry as part of cyber security strategy unveiled by ministers on Friday. The plans could lead to the government being paid substantial sums for software developed by the intelligence agency at Cheltenham. Ministers argue GCHQ's main priority will remain national security and the agency has insisted it will not be side-tracked. However, the new cyber strategy makes clear that better co-operation is needed between the public and private sectors to face the dangers posed by espionage and crime on the web. The plans aim to show how the government is going to spend some of the £650m it set aside for cyber security in last year's strategic defence and security review. GCHQ is to get a huge increase in funding, and the Ministry of Defence will benefit too. The ideas in the strategy include:

  • Creating within two years a cyber crime unit within the National Crime Agency that will take the lead in the most serious fraud and theft cases.
  • Sending guidelines to courts and police highlighting the extra powers now available to them. They include using orders which ban criminals from owning more than one mobile phone, limiting them to one email address and restricting internet access. Courts can also order people to stop using instant messaging.
  • Encouraging all police forces to recruit more so-called cyber specials - part-time officers who are experts in computing.
  • Creating a cyber defence operations group at the MoD, which will be overseen by Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, head of the new Joint Forces Command. His job will be to develop "new tactics, techniques and military cyber capabilities". This will include offensive as well as defensive capabilities.

The government has also pledged to do more to raise public awareness by revamping the Get Safe Online website. It will also push software manufacturers to agree to a kitemark safety system. The cyber strategy is the second since 2009 and is designed to bolster defences against the growing menace of theft, fraud and espionage online. The Cabinet Office insisted that GCHQ would not be opening a commercial arm. The minister for cyber security, Francis Maude, said:

"The strategy heralds a new era of unprecedented co-operation between the government and industry on cyber security, working hand in hand to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business."

Though government departments are bombarded with malicious emails, and are frequently targeted for attack, almost all of the most serious cases of cyber theft are against companies and banks - but they prefer not to publicise such incidents because of the potential damage to their reputation and share price. Ministers believe that one way to stop or deter criminal networks from attempting to steal intellectual property is for firms to work with specialists at GCHQ. The co-operation will be in confidence, though that will raise questions about transparency with their customers. Fifteen companies, including Barclays, BT, Vodafone and Centrica, have been working to develop a pilot scheme which will start next month. This will involve some of the blue-chip firms across defence, energy, finance and pharmaceuticals, sharing information with GCHQ on a formal basis.

"We will create a hub with GCHQ in the middle of it," said a Whitehall source. "This has to be a trusted environment where intelligence can be shared in confidence. GCHQ will act as the clearing house."

In turn, GCHQ is to offer to firms some of the expertise it has developed in-house.

"There may well be things developed by GCHQ that could be used for commercial purposes," said the source. "Up until now, some of the clever things that have been developed have just sat on a shelf. GCHQ may not know how to use it, but private companies may be able to."

Ministers have looked at the US firm, In-Q-Tel, which is funded by the CIA to help government and industry. Set up 13 years ago, it is a not-for-profit venture that has provided technology to firms such as Google, and made millions of dollars for the US government. Further information and advice: Jenrick IT has become a leading source of career advice for SC and DV Cleared IT Professionals, after being regularly seen at exhibitions such as the SC Expo and the DSEi London, and the experienced consultant team are able to open up a series of security and defence job opportunities for IT professionals. For more information please call Jenrick IT on (01932) 245 500 and ask to speak with the SC and DV Recruitment Team.