Cyber security summit signs UK-US university deal

Image caption,
Thousands of cyber security experts will need to be trained in the next few years, the summit concluded

A conference on cyber security has ended with a university deal to train a new generation of experts in fighting off criminal and terrorist IT attacks.

The summit in Cardiff agreed that the UK and the US would need to produce many thousands of people with this expertise over the next few years.

Delegates at the University of Wales event included the UN, the US defence department, Microsoft and IBM.

The US says government systems are under continued attack.

The US federal government recently announced plans to spend more than $13bn a year within the next five years on protecting its systems.

In the UK, cyber crime is costing the economy up to £27bn every year, it is estimated.

US officials say cyber criminals, terrorists and other nations are getting better at penetrating state and private networks, whether to spy, to steal data or damage critical infrastructure.

Last week, the head of the Pentagon's cyber command said the US military lacked the people and resources to defend the country adequately from concerted cyber attacks.

The two-day summit was organised by the University of Wales Global Academy and the Geospatial Data Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

It also included professors from Harvard University, the University of Oxford, University of Memphis, Boston University and the University of Central Florida.

'Overriding issue'

The University of Wales and the Geospatial Data Centre at MIT signed an agreement to jointly develop cyber security leadership and training programmes.

University of Wales vice-chancellor Professor Marc Clement said he believed the summit was a "major coup" for Wales and the deal signed would put Wales at the forefront of cyber security defence.

He said the university hoped to "work closely with many of the participating academics to take forward the agenda identified by the summit and to advance relations between MIT and the University of Wales".

He added: "We now plan to develop a joint training programme for taking forward educational developments in the field of cyber-physical security, an area that the summit agreed was the overriding issue for government, business, and universities."

Professor John Williams, director of the Geospatial Data Centre, said: "Cyber-physical security is now considered the number one threat to national security, being deemed more critical than conventional nuclear attacks.

"Last year alone, the US logged over 300,000 virus attacks on their networks and noted that organised crime now makes more money from cyber crime than any other activity."

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