Cyber Experts Unite To Halt 'Gunpowder Moment'

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The Ministry of Defence and nine of the world's biggest weapons makers and telecoms providers have joined forces to bolster the UK's cyber security.

The Defence Cyber Protection Partnership (DCPP) will see organisations such as the eavesdropping agency GCHQ and firms including BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) , Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ - news) sharing information on tackling threats.

Other organisations and companies involved include the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), BT (LSE: BT-A.L - news) , Cassidian, CGI, Rolls-Royce, Selex ES and Thales UK.BT, Cassidian, CGI, Rolls-Royce, Selex ES and Thales UK.

Unveiling the partnership with the defence industry, minister Philip Dunne described the threat of cyberattacks as a 21st century "gunpowder" moment.

At a speech at the National Security Summit in central London, he said resilience against cyberattacks was vital to the defence of the nation.

Citing multimillion-pound investment in the National Cyber Security Programme as evidence of the importance the Government is putting on cyber defence, Mr Dunne said: "The discovery of gunpowder by Chinese alchemists had profound consequences for the conduct of battle ever since.

"Right now we are undergoing our own 'gunpowder' moment."

He said the MoD, as well as other government departments and private companies, were regularly targeted by criminals, foreign intelligence services and other "malicious actors" trying to disrupt operations, corrupt systems and steal information.

"Maintaining our technology edge over our adversaries is vital, and this means a shared interest with industry in protecting the intellectual property which provides that edge, often in face of sophisticated and widespread cyber espionage," he said.

"For many reasons our resilience to cyber attack is vital to the defence of the UK."

DCPP chairman Vic Leverett said the partnership was a "critical component" in a co-ordinated approach between government and industry.

"The whole is proving to be significantly better than the sum of the parts," he said.

Organisations in the partnership will also share intelligence and expertise on tackling cyber threats with other industry sectors and government through the recently announced national Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership.

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