STATE-SPONSORED attempts at stealing sensitive research and information can undermine UK businesses and harm competitiveness for the home nations on the world stage. That being so, the Government has announced the creation of the National Protective Security Authority (NPSA) to help businesses and organisations alike defend themselves against national security threats.
The new body, which has been established as part of MI5, will increase the UK’s resilience to state threats as well as terrorism and, in tandem, play an important part in strengthening economic security.
The NPSA has absorbed the responsibilities of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, but enjoys a broader remit. This reflects the fact that the threats facing the UK today extend far beyond Critical National Infrastructure.
Advice will be provided in an accessible and informative way such that it can be understood and used by a broad range of private and public sector organisations, including tech start-ups, businesses, event venues and universities.
On the front line
Security Minister Tom Tugendhat commented: “Science, technology and academia are as much on the front lines of national security as the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure. We know that hostile actors are trying to steal intellectual property from UK institutions in order to harm our country. The National Protective Security Authority will play a crucial role in helping businesses and universities to better protect themselves and maintain their competitive advantage.”
In practice, the NPSA will work closely with key partners such as the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office to provide joined-up and holistic protective security advice. Working with these and other partners, it will provide training and advice on the protective security measures that businesses and organisations can put in place in order to help prevent terrorist attacks, while also increasing the focus on the growing state threats confronted by the UK.
Last year, MI5 explained the emerging threat to businesses posed by espionage activity conducted by the Chinese state. This included examples of the theft of intellectual property, exploiting academic research and the deceptive use of professional networking sites to acquire sensitive information.
Among its other areas of work, the NPSA will offer advice to businesses on how to harden their defences against this type of threat. The Think Before You Link app is already available to help avoid the deceptive exploitation of professional networking platforms.
The new body’s training, guidance and advice will be informed by world-class research and the very latest secret intelligence. It will reach many more organisations by:
*raising awareness of the risks that state actors present to UK businesses, research and institutions
*working with the police service and publicly accessible locations to help strengthen protections against terrorist attacks
*expanding its online training offering at www.npsa.gov.uk alongside its in-person industry engagement
*developing more guidance and other tools that make sense to those with no or limited security expertise, while also continuing to advise security professionals and technical experts
*offering advice that’s tailor made for sectors, building on successful existing campaigns such as Trusted Research, Secure Innovation, Protected Procurement and the aforementioned Think Before You Link.
*Further information is available online at www.npsa.gov.uk
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