National Protective Security Authority to defend UK businesses against nation-state threats

The NPSA will sit within domestic counterintelligence and security agency MI5 and provide a wide range of expert security advice to businesses in the UK.

uk united kingdom fallback generic shutterstock

The UK government has established a new body to help businesses combat national security threats, including state-sponsored attempts to steal data and research. The National Protective Security Authority (NPSA) has been set up as part of the government’s Integrated Review Refresh into new investment for defence.

The NPSA will sit within UK security service MI5 and provide a wide range of businesses with access to expert security advice. It has absorbed the responsibilities of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure but with a broader remit, reflecting the fact that the threats faced by the UK today extend far beyond critical national infrastructure, the government said.

NPSA to help companies harden defences against cyber espionage

The NPSA will work closely with key partners such as the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office to provide joined-up, holistic protective security advice, read an MI5 post. “Working with these and other partners, it will provide training and advice on the protective security measures that businesses and organisations can put in place to help stop a terrorist attack while also increasing the focus on the growing state threats the UK faces,” it added.

In 2022, MI5 warned of the emerging threat to businesses posed by espionage activity by the Chinese state. This included examples of the theft of intellectual property, exploitation of academic research, and the deceptive use of professional networking sites to acquire sensitive information. “Among other areas of work, NPSA will offer advice to businesses on how to harden their defences against this type of threat.”

Science, technology, academia on the front lines of national security

“Science, technology, and academia are as much on the front lines of national security as the UK’s critical national infrastructure,” commented Tom Tugendhat, security minister. “We know that hostile actors are trying to steal intellectual property from UK institutions in order to harm our country. The NPSA will play a crucial role in helping businesses and universities better protect themselves and maintain their competitive advantage.”

The new body’s training, guidance, and advice will be informed by world-class research and the very latest secret intelligence, the government stated. It aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the risks that state actors present to UK businesses, research, and institutions.
  • Work with the police and publicly accessible locations to help strengthen protections against terrorist attacks.
  • Expand its online training offering alongside in-person industry engagement.
  • Develop more guidance and other tools that make sense to those with no or limited security expertise, while continuing to advise security professionals and technical experts.
  • Offer advice that is tailor-made for sectors, building on successful existing campaigns.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 hot cybersecurity trends (and 2 going cold)