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FTSE 350 companies to be cyber healthchecked

25 July 2013

The UK's top companies are being asked by security service heads to take part in a cyber governance health check.

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The chairpersons of the country's FTSE 350 have received a letter jointly signed by the Director General of MI5 Andrew Parker, the Director of GCHQ Sir Iain Lobban, and Science Minister David Willetts. It requests that their companies undertake a two-stage security assessment, under a new initiative to boost corporate awareness of cybercrime.

It is thought that the health check will involve a questionnaire that includes safeguarding customer data and protecting intellectual property.

Reporting on the initiative, the FT points to its own recent survey which found that four in five of the UK's largest companies were not prepared for cyber attacks, and that fewer than one in ten large businesses acted on government web security advice published earlier this year.

Mr Willetts hopes to publish some overall data resulting from the exercise in October or November this year. The report will enable the FTSE 350 companies to view anonymous data on all the other companies that have taken part, to enable benchmarking against their peers.

The first questionnaire will be required to be completed by the chairpersons themselves, and tt is anticipated that a second stage will see the companies' audit firms answering questions on their vulnerabilities.