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In 2015, Juniper Research reported that cybercrime would increase the security breaches cost to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019 which is four times estimated cost of security beaches in 2015 [8]. In February 2016, the date of referendum for Brexit was announced, political leaders from remain and leave camps took part in debates and interviews to convey their point of views and arguments through traditional and social media platforms until the month of June. On June 23, 2016 more than 30 million people voted and the leave camp won. The leave camp argument is that the EU support is considerably less than the EU subscription fees which UK has to pay which is £55 million/day [9]. Since then, political leaders have been working tirelessly to acquire a Brexit deal with Europe. While the discussion of Brexit impacts on other matters is important, it is also significant to discuss what will be the impact on UK Cyber Security after Brexit? The answer to this question is extremely complex and varied. To understand the following information in depth you must understand the recent statistics of cyber security in UK.

If UK government could understand the road ahead then it could plan and prepare for the future better. But if they could not, then UK would struggle to develop policy and strategies which would guide our actions and provide benefits not only to UK citizens but to our Allies as well [10].

A. UK Cyber Defence Relationships

Cyber security is described as an essentially transnational enterprise. The Internet extends across national borders and blurs conventional distinction between private and public information and computer networks around the globe. The security of such networks involves various countries information sharing. Industrial sectors and network engineers or experts from around the globe. UK will not withdraw from these structures overnight if Brexit goes through. More importantly, most of the frameworks which have better cyber security does not rely on the European Union.

The UKs intelligence agencies contribution to Five Eyes will continue and UK will also continue to get benefits form this partnership. The intimate cyber defence relationships of UK armed forces with NATO and its members will be maintained. None of these partnerships is dependent upon the EU for their efficiency. These partnerships to maintain cyber security will persist, Brexit or no Brexit.

On the other hand, the UK will lose its seat on Europols management board and is subsidiary the European Cyber- crime Centre. In reality, it is not clear that what will be the impact on UK cybercrime agencies and their activities will be after dismembering from Europol. But, one thing is clear which is UK will not be in a position to change EU cybersecurity policies from the inside. The UK has agreed to maintain equivalency between UK and EU data protection frameworks. It may imply that after Brexit UK may have to follow rules rather than make them [10]. In other words, Brexit will be an adverse effect on UK’s cyber crime agencies framework as UK will definitely not be able to make or change cyber laws instead UK will have to abide by laws made by Europol due to maintained equivalency between UK and EU data protection frameworks.

B. Employment Industry

Since the talk of Brexit started, the employment of every industry has been worried sick including cyber security industry. In UK, there is a huge skill gap with in the cyber security which has been proving difficult to address espe- cially in the wake of Brexit. According to [11], HackerOne paid 38.2 million in vulnerability hunting bounties, only 4% went to British security researchers. This proves that most of the workforce of cyber security in UK is from EU countries. Brexit could impact this workforces freedom of movement between UK and EU countries. This raise a significant issue for UK cyber security industry which is how will they acquire best talent from EU countries [11]. The cyber security professionals across EU have a mutual understanding that no matter what the outcome of Brexit will be, the UK will maintain the relationship with EU partners to maintain cyber security of the continent [10]. No doubt this trust is imperative for survival of cyber security. But as a precaution UK will have to find new ways to attract workforce in cyber security industry. Otherwise, the industry will not be able to survive and it could effect cyber security of UK government, public and private organisations.

C. UK Government Policies and Law

In any field, success brings out crime which needs mechanism to control it. Legal authorities in any country should provide assurance to users and empowerment to law enforce- ment agencies. It is also their responsibility to take such actions which could defer criminals. Cyber space created criminals which are responsible for moral and civil wrongs. The cyber law basically includes all the cases, statutes and constitutional provisions which could affect the institutions or persons who control and provide access to cyberspace [12]. The United Kingdom developed its first cyber law in 1989, which was Official Secret Act. Since then UK government put following Acts in place to combat cyber security:

Another significant regulation which will be directly effec- tive on 25 May 2018 in the UK is General Data Protection


Fig-6 Cyber Laws Acts of UK

Regulation 2016/679(GDPR). Similarly, Network and Information Security Directive2016/1148will be implemented in UK on 10 May 2018. These laws will only remain effective as long as UK remains a member of the European Union. As the UK voted to leave the European Union in a referendum held in June 2016. Until now, the timing and final deal of Brexit is unclear. Therefore, the impact of Brexit on data protection laws is still not clear. It is not clear whether the UK government will still carry on implementation of General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679(GDPR) and Network and Information Security Directive2016/1148even after Brexit or not [13].

Therefore it is imperative for UK government officials to finalise the Brexit deal and decide to keep the same cyber protection laws in effect as European Union even after Brexit. Otherwise it would take a long time for UK government to form and pass new regulations.

For the list of references click here.

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Muntaha Saleem
She is an Editor-in-Chief . She is a Telecom engineer and a blogger. She loves to blog about latest technology news and products.

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