Home Secretary Priti Patel reasserted the Government’s determination to drive down cyber crime as she launches a nationwide, eight-week long Call for Information. It will seek views from individuals and businesses on how to reduce the hacking of online accounts and personal data.

Cyber crime – which includes hacking and ransomware is one of the most prolific crimes facing the UK public. It is estimated that over 1.6 million cyber offences were committed last year, costing UK taxpayers billions of pounds. Cyber criminals often use stolen personal data to commit further crimes such as fraud, extortion, or stalking – causing serious financial and emotional harm

This public consultation, under the Cyber Duty to Protect Programme, focuses on two specific areas of concern: how we authenticate our identity online – such as password login details – and how our personal data is protected in online accounts.

The consultation will seek views on how to reduce the burden on people for their cyber security and encourage organisations to further protect their customers’ accounts and personal data. The Government will then be able to develop new proposals to protect the public online so that our cyber resilience keeps up to date with rapid technological developments.

As part of its mission to tackle cyber crime, the Government launched the National Cyber Strategy last year which set out the vision to protect the UK’s national security interests online while enabling the country to prosper from greater digital connectivity.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘The British public should be able to go online without fear of their accounts being hacked, or their personal data being stolen and exploited by opportunistic and callous criminals.

‘We are determined to drive down cyber crime but also understand the kind of additional steps businesses and individuals need to take to protect their online accounts in the first place.

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‘This needs to be a collective effort - working together with law enforcement, industry and the public to make the UK the safest place to be online.’ 

Through this consultation the Home Office is seeking views on the security measures digital service providers (such as online retailers) already have in place and any barriers for them taking even greater steps to prevent cyber attacks.

Nik Adams, Commander for Economic and Cyber Crime at the City of London Police, said:

‘The NPCC National Cybercrime Programme has been working closely with private industry to raise awareness and provide tools to encourage better protection for businesses and their customers against cybercrime, however, in the face of rapid technological advances that can be exploited by criminals, there is always more to be done.

‘This is an important piece of work to understand what additional steps industry can take to better protect members of the public and their personal data, which will help shape how we lead work across policing to support them and work together to keep the public safe.’

Paul Maddinson, Director of National Resilience and Strategy at the National Cyber Strategy Security, said:

‘Our growing use of online accounts creates opportunities for all parts of society, and that’s why it is important that we have confidence in the security methods of the systems that keep us protected.

‘I encourage individuals, businesses, and organisations to consider and respond to this consultation to help us collectively ensure that we stay ahead of the latest threats.’

Respondents (any individual, organisation, or business) will be invited to discuss the following areas:

  • The risks associated with unauthorised access to UK online accounts and personal data 
  • Actions that are currently taken to address the problem
  • Actions that should be taken and who is responsible for them.

To participate in the Call for Information, visit the consultation page