The Internet Can Be Safe AND Fun!!

From national security threats to fake princes stealing your identity, the Internet can be a scary place. At the same time, it’s a place we love for its anything-goes attitude (Exhibit A: BuzzFeed). The UK is looking for the sweet spot where we can buy awesome stuff, check our email, pay bills securely AND enjoy unlimited corgi gifs, all in a safe environment!

1. Conference on Cyberspace? Yeah, we started that.

In 2011, the UK hosted the first Conference on Cyberspace. The London conference brought together governments, industry and civil society to work toward a free, secure and dynamic Internet. Budapest hosted in 2012.

This year it’s Seoul’s turn. Over 1,600 delegates from more than 90 countries will descend on the South Korean capital for group sessions and panel discussions about how to maximize the economic, social and cultural benefits, while also dealing with the challenges.

2. (Cyber) Crime doesn’t pay

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British companies already do a ton of business over the Internet, so naturally we want to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to do business in cyberspace.

We’re working alongside the new (and snappily-titled) National Crime Agency (launched in early October) to root out phishing scams, bring online fraudsters to book and tackle organised crime.

Kind of like a cyber Batman without the costume. (Oh please let it be without the costume…)

3. I am rubber, you are glue

All across government, we are working to improve our resilience to cyber attacks. On both the military and the civilian side, we‘re developing new cyber tactics, techniques and plans. The Foreign Office is focused on the international relations aspects, the Department for Business is collaborating with the private sector and the security agencies (pay attention, 007!) are working to help British victims and investigating threats from terrorists and foreign intelligence agencies.

We can’t comment on rumours that the new Bond film will be called The Spy Who Snapchatted Me.

4. Taking it global

We’re also working with our partners around the world. All countries, whatever their income level, need the capacity to tackle cyber threats while preserving Internet freedom, which is why we’re giving over $3m a year to fund a new Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre at Oxford University. One of the Centre’s leading lights, Professor Sadie Creese, was recently profiled in Wired magazine.

5. Knowledge is power

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Technology is cool, but by jiminy is it ever hard to keep up with. We’re helping all kinds of people to learn more: sponsoring cyber-related PhDs and apprenticeships, beefing up the high school IT curriculum, even training our civil servants to protect online data.

6. Mmmmm, Pi

Raspberry Pi and Sonic Pi are, respectively, a credit card-sized PC and an open source programming language that explains concepts through sound. Both are GREAT for learning programming, even for young kids. And both were developed in the UK! Tasty.

7. Can you crack the code?

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Chances are, probably not. But if you can, and you are a British student, you stand a chance of winning $1,600 in Cyber Security Challenge UK! The goal of the challenge, sponsored by UK tech giants like QinetiQ, Sophos, Cassidian and Raytheon, is to encourage the next generation of students to understand the cyber world and move toward careers in the sector.

8. Gurls Gurls Gurls

The cyber world was once a boys’ club on a par with most professional sports organizations. No longer! If you want proof, check out the work of Carrie Anne Philbin, whose Geek Gurl Diaries webisodes garnered her this year’s London Digital Hero Award by explaining the basics of computer science and showing ways of using computers to do cool stuff. She even shows us how to use a Raspberry Pi (see above – hint, don’t eat it).

Meanwhile, the UK is looking at ways of championing women (and Gurls) who want to pursue tech careers.

9. THE FUTURE!

In the words of British superspy Austin Powers: “right now we’ve got freedom and responsibility. Its a very groovy time.”

We’re always focused on the next big challenge in cybersecurity. We want to join up our efforts with work being done in the private sector. We also want to broaden our efforts to protect our systems, and bring developing countries increasingly into the conversation. A major way of doing this is, of course, our participation in the Seoul Conference. You can read about our progress here.

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