UK gets tough on protecting the country against cyber-attacks

UK gets tough on protecting the country against cyber-attacks.

UK gets tough on protecting the country against cyber-attacks. Image: UK government/Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Broadband and mobile companies will have to follow new tougher security rules to better protect UK networks from potential cyber-attacks.

The new telecoms security regulations will be among the strongest in the world and will provide much tougher protections for the UK from cyber threats which could cause network failure or the theft of sensitive data, the UK government confirmed on Tuesday, August 30.

The Telecommunications (Security) Act, which became law in November 2021, gives the government powers to boost the security standards of the UK’s mobile and broadband networks, including the electronic equipment and software at phone mast sites and in telephone exchanges which handle internet traffic and telephone calls.

Currently, telecom providers are responsible for setting their own security standards in their networks. However, the government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review found providers often have little incentive to adopt the best security practices.

The new regulations and code of practice, developed with the National Cyber Security Centre and Ofcom, set out specific actions for UK public telecom providers to fulfil their legal duties in the Act. They will improve the UK’s cyber resilience by embedding good security practices in providers’ long-term investment decisions and the day-to-day running of their networks and services.

The substance of the final regulations has been confirmed by the government following a response to a public consultation on them published today. The regulations are to make sure providers:

  • protect data processed by their networks and services, and secure the critical functions which allow them to be operated and managed
  • protect software and equipment which monitor and analyse their networks and services
  • have a deep understanding of their security risks and the ability to identify when anomalous activity is taking place with regular reporting to internal boards
  • take account of supply chain risks, and understand and control who has the ability to access and make changes to the operation of their networks and services to enhance security

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.