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Chancellor Philip Hammond today unveiled the government’s new £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy. Confirming the previously announced investment, he gave more detail on plans for the government to “up its game” in the fight against cyber attacks.

These include increased investment in existing intelligence programmes, including the new National Cyber Security Centre, which opened earlier this month.

There will also be a new Cyber Security Research Institute, which will see universities working together to improve the security of computers and other devices.

In addition, more police officers will be recruited to fight cyber crime, and ministers will work more closely with their foreign counterparts to tackle the threat.

“Our new strategy, underpinned by £1.9 billion of support over five years and excellent partnerships with industry and academia, will allow us to take even greater steps to defend ourselves in cyberspace and strike back when we are attacked,” Hammond said.

Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer said improvements in cyber security are crucial to the future of the United Kingdom and its development.

“No longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies, cyber attacks are a reality and they are happening now,” he said. “Our adversaries are varied – organised criminal groups, hacktivists, untrained teenagers and foreign states.

“The first duty of the government is to keep the nation safe. Any modern state cannot remain secure and prosperous without securing itself in cyberspace.”

The funding was first announced back in March, when the government put forward plans to spend £1.9 billion over five years to fight cyber crime and improve security.

“I believe that fraud and cyber crime, to name but two, are as preventable as car crime and burglary if we understand the problem, work together and use our collective ingenuity to beat the criminals,” said then-home secretary Theresa May at the time.

“If the last 20 years has taught us anything, it is that crime is not inevitable. It may be changing but we can still prevent it, and we must.”

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