LONDON - Firms bidding in certain areas of government procurement must soon demonstrate basic levels of cybersecurity as part of a new standard.
The scheme is among Britain's latest attempts to address a rise in hostile cyberassaults. The efforts have been earmarked as a matter of top national security, but lawmakers have criticised the pace of progress made.
"The cyberattack will remain a serious threat to our national security," said the minister responsible for cybersecurity, Mr Francis Maude.
"We still have work to do, but investment, partnerships, skills, resilience and awareness are in a far stronger position today than before this programme was launched," he said on Wednesday, a day before the new rules were due to be announced.
Cybercrime costs the British economy up to £27 billion ( S$55 billion) a year. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said in September that cyberdefences had blocked around 400,000 attacks on the government's secure Internet last year.
The new measures form the latest plank of Britain's National Cyber Security Strategy, launched in 2011 with £650 million of investments planned over four years. An additional £210 million will be ploughed in.
Officials say they are doing more cyberwork than is the case in most European Union nations. The aim is to make Britain one of the safest places to do business in cyberspace.
The plans include creation of a state-backed cyberstandard for businesses that will apply for future procurement. It will also give insurers, investors and auditors something "they can bite on" when they weigh how good firms are at managing risks.