The UK government has revealed it is working with chip-maker Arm on a £36m initiative to make more secure processors.
Although details are few and far between at this stage, the government claimed that the project could help to protect more UK businesses from remote cyber-attacks and breaches, while boosting new business opportunities and productivity.
According to the government’s own data, around 60% of mid-sized and 61% of large businesses in the UK have suffered a cyber-attack or breach over the past year.
The Arm tie-up is part of the government’s Digital Security by Design initiative, also backed by Microsoft and Google.
“Achieving truly robust security for a world of a trillion connected devices requires a radical shift in how technology companies approach cyber-threats. Research into new ways of building inherently more cyber-resilient chip platforms is critical,” explained Arm chief architect, Richard Grisenthwaite.
“Our first step is to create prototype hardware, the Morello Board, as a real-world test platform for prototype architecture developed by Arm that uses the University of Cambridge’s CHERI protection model. It will enable industry and academic partners to assess the security benefits of foundational new technologies we’re making significant investments in.”
Alongside this push, the government announced a further £18m through its Strategic Priorities Fund, designed to help tackle online fraud, privacy abuses and misinformation online.
The government also announced six new “prosperity partnerships” — a £40m project designed to bring public and private sector bodies together with academia to develop emerging technologies. On board so far are Jaguar Land Rover, Eli Lilly and Company, Toshiba Research Europe, Microsoft, M Squared Lasers, Siemens and Nikon.
The first partnership, announced today, is between Toshiba Research Europe, University of Bristol, GCHQ and Roke Manor Research and will aim to develop more resilient wireless networks to tackle financial extortion, terrorism and destructive attacks.
“Secure Wireless Agile Networks (SWAN) and the wider Prosperity Partnership initiatives bring together a cadre of engineers from industry, government and academia with invaluable commercial insights and in-depth technical skills capable of delivering holistic solutions for a productive, healthy, resilient and connected nation,” said professor Mark Beach of the University of Bristol.
“This UKRI scheme uniquely brings together partnerships who are ideally positioned to deliver technology for the wider benefits of society.”