UK cyber reform campaign gets boost from global body

CyberUp says the UK’s three-decades-old cybersecurity law is in desperate need of an overhaul to protect the country from 21st-century threats – and now its campaign has been officially endorsed by global digital accreditation body CREST.

The Computer Misuse Act, dating back to 1990, has come under fire in recent years, with ministers failing to deliver on promises made in 2021 of a parliamentary overhaul of Britain’s existing legal framework.

The core issue around the law is that in its current form, it criminalizes certain activities that penetration testers, who are nowadays recognized as the backbone of cybersecurity efforts to test defenses among organizations from ransomware attacks and the like, say they need to carry out to ensure safety.

CyberUp describes these activities as being a “large proportion of the vulnerability and cyber threat intelligence research that they are able to do” and has been making a case for reform of the law since 2019 – so far to little or no avail, despite a Home Office review of the legislation in 2021 that led to the pledge to re-evaluate the Act.

It now hopes that with nonprofit organization CREST on board, its campaign will take on the necessary urgency to compel the UK government to finally deliver on its promises.

“The CyberUp Campaign is delighted to have CREST International on board as a supporter,” said a spokesperson. “We are very much looking forward to working with CREST and its members in the UK to ensure the reform of the Computer Misuse Act. The UK is on the precipice of a historic change in our cyber crime laws. Help from organisations like CREST is essential if we are to make sure this once-in-a-generation opportunity does not go to waste.”

Describing the Computer Misuse Act as “out of date” and taking a “view of security testing and threat intelligence not fit for today’s increasingly digitized world”, Rob Dartnall, Chair of CREST’s UK Council, added: “In 2021 CyberUp secured a comprehensive review of the Act so it is now important for industry in the UK to collaborate to ensure substantial reform happens. We will be working with the campaign to help engage industry and drive forward successful reform.”

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