Tough new rules to protect UK’s critical infrastructure
Tough new measures designed to protect the UK’s critical infrastructure from cyber attacks have come into force.
The measures, which bring health, water, energy, transport and digital infrastructure together under the new rules, will see companies made responsible for protection against cyberthreat, as well as reporting breaches and network outages.
Companies will now be expected to have robust safeguards in place against cyber threats and report problems to regulators within 72 hours or they face fines of up to £17M. Regulators will also be given new powers to assess critical infrastructure, ensure safeguards are in place, issue legally-binding instructions to improve security, and impose significant fines if necessary.
The legislation will also cover other threats affecting IT such as hardware failures and environmental hazards.
The new law was announced by Digital Minister Margot James at the beginning of May, and is designed to reduce the number of damaging cyber attacks affecting the UK.
Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “It’s vital that we put in place tough new measures to strengthen the UK’s cyber security and make sure we are the safest place in the world to live and be online.
“Organisations must act now to make sure that they are primed and ready to stop potential cyber attacks and be resilient against major disruption to the services we all rely on.
Incidents must be reported directly to the appropriate regulator. Where an incident has a cyber security aspect, organisations should contact the National Cyber Security Centre for support and advice. The NCSC, set up by the government in October 2016 as part of GCHQ, has already responded to more than 950 significant incidents, including WannaCry.
Ciaran Martin, Chief Executive of the NCSC, said: “These new measures will help to strengthen the security of the UK’s infrastructure.
“By acting on the National Cyber Security Centre’s expert technical advice and reporting incidents, organisations can protect themselves against those who would do us harm.
“The UK government is committed to making the UK the safest place to live and do business online, but we can’t do this alone. Every citizen, business and organisation must play their part.”
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