THE UK GOVERNMENT has announced that it will fine critical infrastructure organisations to £17m if they fail to implement appropriate cybersecurity safeguards.
UK gov issued the warning over the weekend, telling bosses of energy, transport, water and health firms to boost their cyber security defences or risk being slapped with hefty fines under the incoming Network and Information Systems (NIS) directive.
It said that, in the future, a regulator will be able to assess the cybersecurity infrastructure of the country's critical industries to ensure they're as robust "as possible".
This regulator will have the power to issue legally-binding instructions to improve security, and - if appropriate - impose financial penalties, the government warned.
According to the government, it's working on a "simple, straightforward reporting system" where it will be "easy to report cyber breaches and IT failures so they can be quickly identified and acted upon".
The system will be aimed at ensuring that UK electricity, transport, water, energy, transport, health and digital infrastructure firms are able to deal with cybersecurity threats.
It will cover IT threats including power outages, hardware failures and environmental hazards. Under these measures, cybersecurity breaches and system failures such as WannaCry will fall under the NIS directive.
Such incidents would have to be reported to the regulator who'd assess whether appropriate security measures were in place.
Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries, said the government's new "new and robust" cybersecurity measures will "ensure the UK is the safest place in the world to live and be online".
"We want our essential services and infrastructure to be primed and ready to tackle cyber attacks and be resilient against major disruption to services.
"I encourage all public and private operators in these essential sectors to take action now and consult NCSC's advice on how they can improve their cybersecurity."
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which was established in 2017, has unveiled guidance on the new measures. There are 14 principles in total.
NCSC CEO Ciaran Martin added: "Our new guidance will give clear advice on what organisations need to do to implement essential cybersecurity measures.
"Network and information systems give critical support to everyday activities, so it is absolutely vital that they are as secure as possible." µ
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