“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to be here to welcome the launch of the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance.

As Minister responsible for Crime and Security my portfolio includes both fraud and cyber crime.

The internet has brought tremendous opportunities for individuals and business.

But we also know that is has brought opportunities for criminals, who aren’t inconvenienced by national boundaries and who can commit these crimes across the internet at speed and in great volume.

A report published in February estimated that the cost of cyber crime to the UK is £27 billion each year.

This is a colossal sum. It’s a sum we could not afford at any time, let alone when the pressure on finances is so great.

But as well as the impact on the economy, these crimes have an impact on their victims – and their victims are each and every one of us, as members of the public, as businesses and as Government.

Last year we published the Strategic Defence and Security Review, including our belief that the threat to the country from cyber space is second only to that from terrorism. Cyber crime forms a significant part of that threat.

It is a truly global problem which needs a global response, with engagement across countries and sectors of just the kind which ICSPA has been created to promote.

Cyber crime strategy

As the Prime Minister mentioned in his video just now, we have set up a £650 million National Cyber Security Programme to help transform the UK’s response.

That includes £63 million specifically to tackle cyber crime and we will shortly publish a strategy setting out how we will go about doing this.

I would like to give you the broad themes from that, which fit very well with the goals of ICSPA [which John has just outlined].

Fundamentally, we believe that just as the internet and the services on it benefit us all – Government, business, private citizens – so we all have a responsibility to ensure that the internet is as safe as possible.

The strategy has three key areas:

Firstly, we want to reduce online vulnerability through a programme to improve online security and public awareness.

We need to get the basics right, making sure that business and Government data is secure, and developing effective awareness to help the public to protect themselves.

As Government we want to set an example, and make clear that we want security to be a key consideration for all online services. When we buy such services, we will make security a key criterion during purchasing.

Secondly, we want to restrict online criminal activity by having the right laws and the right law enforcement response, to ensure that those seeking to commit cyber crime can be prosecuted.

We want to ensure the overall response is flexible and can tackle the evolving use of technology by criminals.

And we will support the police through technology training and the development of technical tools – this needs to be a part of the mainstream law enforcement response, not a separate specialist function.

Action Fraud plays a vital role in collecting reports of fraud and providing advice. It is due to be expanded later this year and will also become the single point for reporting financially motivated cyber crime.

And we will be carrying out a legal review to ensure that the right laws and procedures are in place.

And third but not last, we want to promote active national and international partnerships to enable a collaborative response between Government, business and the public.

Promoting partnerships will be central to tackling cyber crime.

We strongly believe that as this is an international problem, so there needs to be an international response.

This may take many forms, including international treaties, bilateral relationships and work with industry and with non-governmental organisations.

We need common agreements between countries, so that we can support each other to carry out investigations and trace and disrupt criminal activity.

Effective laws against cyber crime are something that every country needs to have, so that there are no safe havens for online criminals.

With that aim in mind we have ratified the Council of Europe Convention on cyber crime and have opted in to the European cyber crime Directive.

But Governments cannot deliver a safer online world. We need to work closely with industry, to ensure that safe infrastructure and services can be provided to the public and share information and skills.

And we need industry to carry out the same work at an international level.

ICSPA has been set up to do just that and we very strongly welcome it.

I have received a letter from Mr Blunkett offering ICSPA’s assistance in working with the Home Office, especially in the area of international outreach to governments and law enforcement organisations in countries which face the greatest challenges.

I know that a similar offer has been made to the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance and I welcome this engagement.

Europol partnership

And I am delighted to make the announcement that Europol, the European Law Enforcement Agency, and ICSPA have agreed to form a strategic partnership.

They will work together to address some uniquely challenging issues of cyber crime across the EU’s member states and with other international partners.

They include:

The harmonisation of cybercrime training for law enforcement officials and looking at ways to introduce accreditation and standards

Supporting businesses and communities throughout the EU with advice and guidance to help ensure a safer and more secure Internet.

Driving information sharing initiatives between EU law enforcement agencies and businesses. This will give policy makers and agencies a better picture of the level and nature of cyber criminal activity

Sharing best practice on techniques and solutions and working together on future-proofing systems and hardware.

And identifying new technologies which could provide new opportunities for organised criminals to exploit, and providing advice on how this can be mitigated.

I would like to join the Prime Minister in wishing both ICSPA and Europol great success in these vital tasks.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the business leaders present for their willingness to participate in this very innovative initiative.

I look forward to working with you, as together we place a renewed focus on tackling this serious crime.”