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UK signs up to World Economic Forum cyber crime initiative

Hague agrees to support principles in efforts to secure global e-commerce trade

The UK government has joined a World Economic Forum (WEF) cyber crime initiative, aimed at protecting the growth of global e-commerce.

Foreign secretary William Hague signed up to the Cyber Resilience principles put forward by the WEF, with the UK joining over 70 companies and government bodies across 25 countries in committing to securing digital networks from cyber attacks. The principles are intended to "promote awareness, understanding and action" of cyber threats, in order to tackle global cyber risk challenges.

Hague said in a statement that public and private sector organisations must work together to ensure that business can be conducted in a safe digital environment.

"We hope that signing the WEF Principles on Cyber Resilience will encourage business leaders all over the world to lead the way in creating shared principles for a resilient and thriving internet," Hague said. "The internet has a critical role to play as an engine and facilitator of economic growth."

"Cyberspace must be secure and reliable so that it is trusted as a medium for doing business but at the same time free and open to evolve and innovate naturally," he added. "Governments should support the key role of the private sector in creating a trusted and open place to do business both at home and abroad."

Cabinet Office minister for cyber security, Francis Maude, commented that by sharing the UK's expertise with other nations all organisations will benefit from greater protection from cyber attacks.

"Cyber security is a shared, global challenge - our companies operate in a global marketplace," Maude said. "The cyber threat knows no geographical boundaries and it matters that those we connect to are secure as well."

Maude has previously earmarked £650 million for the UK's fight against cyber crime, and last month heralded the success of the UK's Cyber Security Strategy, claiming that "a great deal has already been accomplished". A year after the publication of the strategy, Maude said that the UK was "one of the safest places to do business online".

The EU also made moves to create a more cohesive strategy to combat the "borderless" nature of cyber criminals, announcing the opening of a European Cybercrime Centre earlier this month, enabling greater colloboration between authorities in member states.

However, the discovery of the Red October threat by Kaspersky Lab last week highlighted the extent of the challenge that faces businesses and government authorities in stemming the tide of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks.

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