Government, business should guard Internet together: British intelligence chief

FILE PHOTO: GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming delivers a speech as he meets with Britain's Queen Elizabeth during her visit at the Watergate House to mark the centenary of the GCHQ (Government Communications Head Quarters) in London, Britain, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool

GLASGOW, Scotland (Reuters) - The head of Britain’s GCHQ spy agency on Wednesday will call on businesses and the finance sector to work with intelligence officials to help secure the internet and protect customers online.

In extracts of a speech to be given at a cyber security conference in Scotland, GCHQ head Jeremy Fleming said the signals intelligence agency would cooperate closely with manufacturers, internet service providers, online platforms and banks to “take the burden of cyber security away from the individual.”

The latest incarnation of the internet has enabled innovation and technological breakthroughs, Fleming said, but also brought “new and unprecedented challenges for policymakers as we seek to protect our citizens, judicial systems, businesses - and even societal norms.”

Western governments including Britain are pushing businesses and the public to take more precautions online and guard against threats posed by cyber criminals and nation state hackers.

Fleming will speak at the CYBERUK conference, hosted by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in Glasgow, Scotland. The conference will also host a public panel discussion by senior officials from countries in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group: Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

“Cyber attacks do not respect international boundaries, and many of the threats and vulnerabilities we face are shared around the globe,” said NCSC head Ciaran Martin. “Each nation has sovereignty to defend itself as it sees best fit, but it’s vital that we work closely with our allies.”

Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Michael Holden; Editing by David Gregorio