The UK government awarded £10 million to nine research teams across the country, as part of a plan to develop new cybersecurity technologies. The fund and its latest recipients are part of Digital Security by Design, a program that the government launched last year that aims to protect UK companies from cyberattacks. Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the winners at London Tech Week, an event that promotes London as the tech capital of Europe.
Among the winning teams that will share the £10 million fund is the University of Glasgow’s AppControl, who will continue to develop advanced microprocessors. These technological innovations safeguard crucial systems used in cars, nuclear power plants, and medical robots and ensure they remain intact and secure.
Another noteworthy winner is the University of Southampton and its HD-Sec solution, which seeks to reduce software design errors and eliminate vulnerabilities that hackers and cybercriminals might exploit. Meanwhile, digital solution CAP-TEE, brought forth by the University of Birmingham, will develop prototype microchips to protect systems that shield sensitive data from hackers.
As for the other winners, they include:
- CAPcelerate (University of Cambridge)
- CapC (University of Kent)
- CHERI (University of Cambridge)
- CloudCAP (Imperial College London)
- SCorCH (The University of Manchester and University of Oxford)
Dowden said that the UK has a “world-class cybersecurity sector,” adding that everyone is working hard to ensure “the UK is the safest place to work, connect and live online.”
The Digital Security by Design Initiative
The UK government launched the Digital Security by Design challenge in January 2019, providing £70 million in funding for researchers to develop cybersecurity tech solutions. The program helps companies and businesses stay vigilant against malicious attacks and data breaches.
In addition to the £70 million startup fund, the private sector also chipped in with £117 million to create state-of-the-art security systems. UK chipmaker ARM, which was acquired by Japanese telecoms company Softbank in 2016, partnered with the government to create “hack-resistant” chips in a £36 million investment over the next five years.
2020 Cybersecurity Breaches
According to the 2020 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, online threats and attacks do not show any signs of slowing down. In fact, they’ve become more frequent and advanced than before. The study reveals that 46% of companies in the UK, as well as 26% of charities, reported cybersecurity breaches or attacks in the past year. 75% of the targeted businesses were large companies, while 68% of the victims were medium corporations. As for charities who reported cyberattacks, 57% of them were high-income.
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Furthermore, the companies that identified breaches also expressed that they are experiencing these issues at least once a week in 2020. That’s 10% higher (32%) than it was in 2017 (22%). Even the nature of the attacks has since changed. According to the reported incidents, phishing attempts jumped from 72% to 86%, while viruses and other types of malware dropped from 33% to 16%.
“Cyber attacks can cause significant economic and social damage and leave a lasting mark on affected businesses,” Science minister Amanda Solloway said. But she hopes that the latest funding will help “the country’s most innovative businesses and academics to work together on digital solutions to tackle these threats.”
Individuals and companies alike can follow a number of online security and privacy tips to protect their data. That includes using cybersecurity tools like premium VPNs and antivirus software.