Government updates National Cyber Strategy following war in Ukraine, AI growth

But recruiting cyber experts within government remains a challenge, says Deputy PM Oliver Dowden in National Cyber Strategy progress report.

Posted 17 August 2023 by Christine Horton

The government has had to adapt its National Cyber Strategy following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the rapid pace of technological change.

The government has issued a progress report 18 months after publishing its National Cyber Strategy.

In the report, Deputy PM Oliver Dowden said: “Vital as it was in 2022, our cyber strategy is now more important than ever.”

Dowden said the UK has maintained ongoing cyber support to Ukraine, launched coordinated sanctions against cybercriminals and issued “an unprecedented alert to help protect our critical national infrastructure against Russian-aligned Wagner-style hacking groups.”

He said that the UK has also “set specific and ambitious cyber resilience targets for all critical national infrastructure sectors to meet by 2025.

Additionally, it has set up ten “formal cyber dialogues” with countries across the world and created a Digital and Computing Skills Education Taskforce to drive up computer science uptake in schools.

Tackling cyber skills gap in government

The UK is also looking to AI to strengthen its cyber resilience. “We are prioritising work across the national security community and drawing on external expertise to understand how nation states, criminals and other groups might use AI technology to conduct cyberattacks against the UK,” said Dowden.

As such, the government is looking to attract and retain the cyber talent in government and the wider public sector.

Dowden said he has tasked officials with exploring “radical and ambitious proposals to tackle our cyber skills gap. We must deepen our already-close partnership with industry as technological change gathers pace. And we must secure our networks.”

This week it was revealed the British Army is struggling to hire cybersecurity experts amid intense competition from business.