The UK Government has announced a £54 million investment in technology to tackle ‘many forms of cyber threats,‘ – of which £36 million is going straight into SoftBank-owned Arm’s back pocket.

Announced by Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom this morning, the Government funding package will see Cambridge based chip designer Arm – which was acquired by Japanese technology giant SoftBank back in 2016 – receiving £36 million in public funds to ‘develop new chip technologies that are more resistant to cyber threats‘ than today’s processors.

Cyber-attacks can have a particularly nasty impact on businesses, from costing them thousands of pounds in essential revenue to reputational harm,‘ claims Leadsom of the move. ‘Cyber-criminals operate in the shadows, with the severity, scale and complexity of breaches constantly evolving. It’s critical that we are ahead of the game and developing new technologies and methods to confront future threats, supporting our businesses and giving them peace of mind to deliver their products and services safely. Investing in our world-leading researchers and businesses to develop better defence systems makes good business and security sense.

Achieving truly robust security for a world of a trillion connected devices requires a radical shift in how technology companies approach cyber-threats. Research into new ways of building inherently more cyber-resilient chip platforms is critical,‘ claims Arm chief architect Richard Grisenthwaite, detailing how the public funds will be spent. ‘Our first step is to create prototype hardware, the Morello Board, as a real-world test platform for prototype architecture developed by Arm that uses the University of Cambridge’s CHERI protection model. It will enable industry and academic partners to assess the security benefits of foundational new technologies we’re making significant investments in.

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The Government has also confirmed an additional £18 million via the Strategic Priorities Fund for the development of solutions to problems raised in the Digital Harms white paper published in April this year.

The government wants the UK to be the safest place to be online and the best place to start and grow a digital business. As these investments show, we are determined to create the right environment to foster our thriving digital economy while giving people renewed confidence and trust in online services,‘ adds Matt Warman, Minister for Digital and Broadband. ‘We will always be firm in our support for the UK’s tech sector. Thanks to our work with the UK’s world-leading academic institutions and our business-friendly environment, we are helping entrepreneurs use technology to improve people’s lives and find solutions to future challenges.

The move has been welcomed by those in the security field. ‘Cyberattacks can have a significant impact on businesses, from costing millions of pounds to causing reputational damage. Therefore, it is critical that we get ahead of the attackers,‘ claims Securonix vice-president Robert Ramsden Board. ‘Increased connectivity and digitalisation have made us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, leading to a growing urgency to build a more cyber resilient world. Therefore, cooperation between the UK Government, technology vendors and businesses is an important step in ensuring British businesses and the public are protected against cyber-attacks and online threats.



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