All government departments must undertake a review of information security and provide national security advisor Peter Ricketts with assurances that policies are up to date in light of the WikiLeaks scandal, according to home secretary Theresa May.
Responding to a question in the Commons from fellow Tory MP John Howell, May said: "On WikiLeaks, the prime minister's national security adviser has written to all departments to ask them to look again at their information security and to provide him with assurance about the level of that information security."
May gave no further explanation of exactly what this review would entail, but went on to reiterate the government's focus on cyber crime, stating that "over the next four years £650m is being made available to develop a national cyber security programme".
Alan Bentley, international senior vice president at security firm Lumension, suggested that, although WikiLeaks has been the source of various embarrassing revelations about US diplomatic relations with the rest of the world, it is the release of a list of top secret facilities, including UK satellite locations and BAE Systems' plants, which has triggered another review of computer security.
"Security defences are often bolstered only when a risk is proved to have been enhanced and, with reams of highly classified information continuing to emerge, it is no surprise that a further review of computer security is needed, " he said.
"The effectiveness of such a review will depend on whether government departments are provided with the right guidance over their risk priorities."
Bentley argued that the WikiLeaks saga has highlighted the need to change the way sensitive information is usually accessed and downloaded.
"Removable devices have eased the way in which information can be taken out of an organisation, and policies must be enforced to prevent unnecessary data removal," he said.
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