In this, the second in Pitmans’ Defence & Security industry briefing papers following on from A Call to Economic Arms by Jonathan Durrant, we examine the issues posed by the emergence of Cyberspace as an increasing risk to national security, business activity and personal property. The  largely positive transformation in the delivery of public services, commercial activity and personal communications enabled by the internet has however been mirrored by the emergence of cyber attacks on nation states’ critical national services and infrastructure, attacks on business to defraud and steal intellectual property and criminal activity targeted at individual users. The threat to cyberspace is now acknowledged by Government as one of the UK’s top four risks identified within the National Security Strategy. What action is the UK Government taking? How can industry assist Government to protect our public services and critical infrastructure? What effective measures can business take to safeguard itself and its employees against the threats?

Introduction

There has been much exposure given to the cyberspace domain recently in the news and press.  It attracts extensive attention from the Government, at all levels.  The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in his recent speech to the Munich Security Conference  noted both the geo-political threats from cyberspace as a ‘new means of repression, enabling undemocratic governments to violate the human rights of their citizens’ as well as the staggering threat to businesses and individuals from cyber crime -  ‘over 40,000 pieces of sensitive information and financial data are traded on the online black market every day, amounting to 13.2 million criminal transactions every year’.

Many commentators consider that references to ‘cyberwarfare’, apocalyptic scenarios of the shutdown of national infrastructures and conflicts fought purely in cyberspace are unrealistic hyperbole.  Even so, cyberspace is unavoidably relevant to the private sector and the way businesses manage risk.

Read the complete report: Cyberspace- Industry and the Cyber Armoury

Members of Pitmans’ Defence and Security sector team take an active role in understanding the strategic drivers and engaging with the defence and security environment in order to provide informed legal advice to those operating in this domain.  As well as advising in the areas outlined above, Pitmans’ legal advice extends to a full range of services, including Information Technology, Intellectual Property, Corporate services, Employment Law and Dispute Resolution.

Jonathan Durrant
Director
+44 (0)118 957 0270
jdurrant@pitmans.com