Cyber-attacks

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th June 2018.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Labour, Slough 12:00 am, 4th June 2018

What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on tackling cyber-attacks.

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

The Government recognise that cyber is a tier 1 risk to the UK’s economic and national security. The Home Secretary and I hold regular discussions with ministerial colleagues, the National Security Council, GCHQ and other Government Departments, both to tackle the overall threat and in response to specific incidents.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Labour, Slough

With respect to cyber-attacks, what steps have the Minister and the Home Secretary taken to ensure that the major media and social media companies are more vigilant in their approach to cyber-crime and how that connects with what the Government are doing?

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

Through both the Joint Fraud Taskforce and broader cyber-security meetings in the Home Office, we work together with the industry to produce a common cyber aware campaign, to make sure that everyone is reading from the same hymn sheet and advice is consistent across government. We also work hand in hand with the National Cyber Security Centre to make sure that advice is given both to small businesses and the charitable sector, so that they are not made vulnerable. By investing £1.9 billion in the national cyber-capability programme ,we can invest in the capability to see this off.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Conservative, Scarborough and Whitby

Will my right hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to the personnel at GCHQ Scarborough, which is known locally as “Wireless station”? Together with their colleagues in Cheltenham, they work day and night to keep us safe from cyber-attacks and cyber-crime.

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

The workforce at GCHQ do a tremendous job of keeping us safe from our enemies, and have done since all the way back to GCHQ’s history in Bletchley Park. I was delighted that some new GCHQ jobs were recently announced in my region, the north-west, which shows that it is not just a Cheltenham-based organisation, with sites in Yorkshire, Cornwall and now Manchester.

Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Security)

The Security Minister indicated on the radio this morning that counter-terror intelligence will now be shared with local organisations, including the police and local councils. Will he explain how the cyber-security of that data will be guaranteed at a local level and what training will be given to those who handle it? Crucially, will he confirm that additional resources will be given to every organisation that is asked to store it?

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s question. We are sharing the information more widely in three pilot schemes that will be funded by the Home Office, so the funding will be met by central Government. The first three pilots are going to be based in Birmingham, Manchester and London. Of course, local authorities, social services and mainstream county police forces deal with sensitive information every day, and that is already subject to data protection rules and appropriate levels of security. We will continue to advise them on that, and the information that we share will of course be declassified before they get it.