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17 November, 2015 - 10:46 By Tony Quested

Darktrace says business must heed alert on cyber terror

Darktrace CEO, Nicole Eagan

Cambridge cyber security specialist Darktrace was at GCHQ this morning as UK Chancellor George Osborne announced a £2 billion war chest to accelerate the fight against global terrorism.

But the technology company’s CEO, Nicole Eagan (pictured above), warned that government action alone wasn’t enough – businesses had to raise their game to avoid digital disaster.

She told Business Weekly: “George Osborne’s announcement of increased investment in cyber security is to be applauded. The Government can lead and signal but it is British business that has to heed the message and act now.

“The benefits of the digital world are central to modern business and cyber security is not an add-on but a core part of playing the game.”Darktrace, whose head of marketing Emily Orton was with the Chancellor at GCHQ,  already protects some of the UK’s critical national infrastructure and transport systems – such as Drax, Virgin trains and others).

Osborne says the Government will invest almost £2bn to create the country’s first cyber force to combat online threats from states and terror groups. The effort will be spearheaded by a new National Cyber Centre based at GCHQ.

Much of the investment will create additional staff – principally intelligence officers – for GCHQ and sister agencies M15 and M16, from whom Darktrace recruited its first senior executives. Darktrace also accompanied Prime Minister David Cameron on a recent visit to the White House and Pentagon to advise the US on its technology. Cambridge is in the UK vanguard for cyber security technology, as evidenced by the number of businesses in the delegation.

Chancellor Osborne had more on his mind that the upcoming Autumn Statement as he dealt in the currency of human life in his GCHQ mission. As reported widely in this morning’s national media, Osborne is warning that IS has not yet been able to use “cyber warfare to kill people by attacking infrastructure, we know they want it that capability and are doing their best to build it. “If our electricity supply, or our air traffic control, or our hospitals were successfully attacked online, the impact could be measured not just in terms of economic damage but of lives lost. “When we talk about tackling IS that means tackling their cyber threat as well as guns, bombs and knives.”
 

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