From education to environmental sustainability, healthcare to agriculture, job creation, business growth and more — there’s almost no area that digital technology isn’t helping to improve.
With this increased connectivity, however, comes increased risk, as malicious actors have a growing platform to launch cyber threats and attacks. These individuals and groups put our safety at risk, cost trillions of pounds in economic damage and ultimately undermine everyone’s ability to take part in an open, free and secure internet.
Because protecting cyber security is in everyone’s interest, we’ve entered into the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, along with 33 other major companies. While the principles of the Accord are something we’re proud to say we’ve been committed to for many years, it represents a landmark public shared commitment to collaborate on cyber security. In it, BT and the other signatories, promise to:
1. Protect all of our users and customers everywhere.
2. Oppose cyber attacks on innocent citizens and enterprises from anywhere.
3. Help empower users, customers and developers to strengthen cyber security protection.
4. Partner with each other and with likeminded groups to enhance cyber security.
These are all promises that BT has a strong history of supporting, so we’re confident in our ability to be an active member of this partnership. We’re a prominent target, fighting off around 125,000 attacks per month in 2017 alone, a 57 per cent increase on the previous year. Because of this, we have invested in strong, automated defence systems to protect our business and our customers. For the 1.7 per cent of attacks which made it past our first line of automated defence last year, our highly trained security team of around 2,500 people are there to detect and stop attacks quickly, 24/7. In order to stay ahead of cyber criminals we have a team of ethical hackers that test our systems to the limit, to find any vulnerabilities before criminals do. We’re committed to investing in the future of cyber security experts too, running the Cyber Discovery programme at schools across the country and a dedicated cybersecurity apprenticeship scheme.
We have been championing better sharing of intelligence on cyber criminals, their methods and infrastructure for a long time. At the beginning of the year we set up the Malware Information Sharing Platform (MISP) through which we shared 200,000 malicious domains with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and other telecommunications companies in the first month of its operations.
We work closely with the NCSC to make the infrastructure of the internet more secure — so it’s harder for cyber criminals to exploit. We are making it more difficult for hackers to intercept text messages and we now block malicious websites such as phishing websites.
In addition to these partnerships, we’ve also joined forces with Amazon Web Services to help build a strong response to threats against data stored in the cloud. And we sit on the City of London Police Fraud Prevention Group — helping to co-ordinate anti-fraud campaigns.
We’re well aware that people are concerned about the implications a cyber attack could have for their privacy. In fact, it’s estimated that almost three quarters of people in the UK worry that their private information might be exploited. That’s why Privacy by Design was established, so that any new product or service ideas we develop must meet privacy requirements from the very start, rather than having these added on toward the end of the development process.
We run extensive privacy and security checks on all new products and services before offering them to customers, with products like BT Web Protect, Plusnet Protection and True Key all helping people to detect viruses and choose stronger passwords. That’s in addition to the work we do with various organisations such as the Marie Collins Foundation, EE and Internet Matters to ensure that the internet is a safe place for children and young people to learn and explore.
With so much experience behind us, we’re looking forward to a new era of collaboration with the other companies in the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, one which we hope will see the internet and digital technology continue to flourish.