The Government has been criticised for its vague response to some of the questions posed by January's Defence Select Committee's report on cyber-security, including wildly mis-stating the amount of funding being channelled to the DSTL Cyber and Influence Centre.

In a letter from Conservative Committee chairman James Arbuthnot to Armed Forces Minister Andrew Robathan, the Government is taken to task for failing to provide enough detail on contingency planning in the event of a cyber-attack on the UK.

The Government also needed to provide a more comprehensive explanation of how it planned to check that the Ministry of Defence supply chain had been secured.

The Committee said it was also unclear about which agencies other than the Ministry of Defence had been given responsibility for specific aspects of cyber-defence.

“In the conclusion to our Report, we urged the Government to take a more vigorous approach to cyber-security in the context of defence,” said Arbuthnot.

“Unfortunately your response has not provided the degree of assurance we had hoped for.”

The Government also needed to report back on how well it had coped with cyber-attack incidents so that Parliament could judge its progress towards stated targets.

Embarrassingly,  Arbuthnot also pulled the Government up over its admission that the true backing for the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Cyber and Influence Centre was £18 million and not £80 million as claimed in a previous submission.

“We are concerned to know whether this will be sufficient given the scale of the task,” wrote Arbuthnot.

The issue of funding and exactly how much is being spent created uncertainty, said one commentator.

“The UK government needs to show serious monetary commitment to defending itself against cyber threats," commented Dr Jarno Limnéll, director of cyber-security at security firm Stonesoft.

Demonstrating its weight is key to deterrence, and most importantly real direction is needed in the protection of critical infrastructure against cyber-attack,” he said.

 

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