We're rounding up some of the biggest security cleared stories of the past few weeks. In August, new rules governing cyber security for the telecoms sector were announced, BAE Systems unveiled plans to create hundreds of new jobs in aerospace, and GCHQ launched an effort to get more women into coding.
Govt unveils tough new cyber security rules for critical telecoms infrastructure
The government has introduced a new set of security rules for the UK's critical telecoms infrastructure that will aim to protect the country's broadband and mobile networks from cyber threats that could steal data or cause service disruptions.
Previously, network operators were able to set their own standards for security protections, but as part of new laws under the Telecommunications (Security) Act, this power has now passed to the government, after a review noted there was "little incentive" for providers to adopt best practices.
The new rules, developed by Ofcom and the National Cyber Security Centre, seek to ensure providers fully protect data processed by their networks, implement tough safeguards on their own network monitoring equipment and follow best practices for identifying and mitigating supply chain risks.
Firms that fail to meet these standards could face fines of up to ten per cent of turnover, or £100,000 a day in the case of a continuing contravention. NCSC Technical Director Dr Ian Levy said: "These new regulations will ensure that the security and resilience of those networks, and the equipment that underpins them, is appropriate for the future."
BAE Systems aims to create 1,000 jobs for new fighter jet programme
Aerospace and defence firm BAE Systems is set to hire an extra 1,000 engineers for its air division over the next 12 months as it aims to have a demonstrator of its next-generation Tempest fighter ready to fly by 2025.
The firm announced at August's Farnborough Airshow its intention to have an airworthy example of the sixth-generation jet within four years. It will provide evidence for the critical technologies, methods and tools that would be used on the core platform for production models.
Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems chief executive, said: “The demonstrator is an exciting once-in-a-generation opportunity providing experienced and young engineers alike a chance to contribute to an endeavour which really matters to our national defence and security.”
As well as working on the Tempest project, those taken on as part of the new recruitment drive will help develop upgrades and maintenance for the existing Typhoon fighter, as well as other projects.
GCHQ aims to boost number of female coders as threats grow
The government's signals intelligence agency GCHQ has launched a recruitment drive to increase the number of women within its ranks as it seeks to adapt to a growing number of threats, from state sponsored cyber attacks to counterterrorism.
Jo Cavan, the director of strategy policy and engagement at the agency, said improving diversity among its workforce will be critical in responding to these issues. At present, she stated the organisation does not have "the right mix of minds to get across some of these threats". It is especially keen to increase the number of female coders it has, as women currently only make up a third of staff at the agency, with even fewer in technology roles.
GCHQ is therefore working with training provider Code First Girls to fund 14-week 'nano-degree' courses in data and software, which are aimed at women who are looking for a career change and may not have previously considered coding.
Anna Brailsford, the chief executive of Code First Girls, said many participants in the programme are women in their late 20s and early 30s. Meanwhile a survey of previous participants found 80 per cent said careers in technology were neither mentioned nor encouraged while they were at school.
Govt office sell-off boosts efforts to relocate Civil Service jobs
The government has announced it will seek to sell £1.5 billion of property assets over the next three years as more central government jobs are shifted outside of London and home working continues to mean many office desks in the capital go unused.
It noted this will give increased momentum to its Places for Growth programme, which is aiming to move 22,000 civil service roles out of London by 2030. Around 7,000 jobs have already been relocated from the capital under this scheme, including 1,389 to Yorkshire and the Humber, with a further 1,000 government jobs newly based in the North West and 550 moved to the North East.
The move was announced by minister for Brexit opportunities and government efficiency Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has been vocal in recent months about wanting to bring more Civil Servants back to offices rather than allowing them to work remotely. He said that in addition to cutting costs for the public purse, the sales will "help us deliver the Places for Growth programme, which will allow greater savings and mean the government is closer to the communities it serves".