THE UNITED KINGDOM is in a weak position and unable to deal with the threat of cyber attacks because of a skills shortage.
That is the message of a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) that warns that people are the weak link in preventing, mitigating and recovering from computer attacks.
Released today, the report claimed that cyber crime is costing the UK between £18bn and £27bn a year and urged the government to address six key areas of readiness, defence and reaction.
These half dozen challenges include needs for better industry protection and defence, better security education and tackling the UK cyber skills gap.
For the latter the NAO said that general security awareness must be increased so that people are not the weakest link in the security chain, and that the UK's "current and future ICT and cyber security skills gap" must be addressed.
It said tackling these areas will make more sense and gain more value from over £650m that the government has earmarked for boosting cyber security and defence.
"The threat to cyber security is persistent and continually evolving. Business, government and the public must constantly be alert to the level of risk if they are to succeed in detecting and resisting the threat of cyber attack," said Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office.
"It is good that the Government has articulated what success would look like at the end of the programme. It is crucial, in addition, that progress towards that point is in some form capable of being measured and value for money assessed." µ