The Chancellor has said it is important to “strike back” in kind if Britain is hit with a cyber security attack rather than resorting to military retaliation.
Philip Hammond announced how the Government plans to use a previously announced £1.9 billion increase in spending on cyber security at Microsoft’s Future Decoded Conference in London.
Speaking about the new cyber security strategy, announced 12 months ago by his predecessor George Osborne, Hammond said: “Our new strategy, underpinned by £1.9bn of support over five years and excellent partnerships with industry and academia, will allow us to take even greater steps to defend ourselves in cyber space and to strike back when we are attacked.
“If we do not have the ability to respond in cyberspace to an attack which takes down our power network – leaving us in darkness or hits our air traffic control system grounding our planes – we would be left with the impossible choice of turning the other cheek, ignoring the devastating consequences, or resorting to a military response.
“That is a choice we do not want to face and a choice we do not want to leave as a legacy to our successors.”
The funding will support the development of automated defences to safeguard citizens and businesses against growing cyber threats, help develop a world-class cyber workforce and deter cyber attacks.
“If we want Britain to be the best place in the world to be a tech business then it is also crucial that Britain is a safe place to do the digital business,” the Chancellor added.
“Trust in the internet and the infrastructure on which it relies is fundamental to our economic future.”
In a speech at GCHQ on the 17th November last year, then Chancellor George Osborne said the Government was making cyber security a top priority while announcing exactly the same investment.
“In the spending review, I have made a provision to almost double our investment to protect Britain from cyber attack and develop our sovereign capabilities in cyber space, totalling £1.9bn over five years,” he said at the time.