UK: Radar - December 2016: Cybersecurity

Last Updated: 22 December 2016
Article by Taylor Wessing


NISD (Cybersecurity Directive)

NISD (Network Information Security or Cybersecurity Directive) was published in the Official Journal in July 2016. Member States now have around sixteen months to put implementing legislation in place but transitional provisions will start to apply from February 2017 in terms of actions required by Member States to set up the necessary structures.

The Cybersecurity Directive is relevant to you if you are an Essential Service provider or if you are a Digital Service Provider i.e. an online marketplace, an online search engine or a cloud services provider. This is a minimum harmonisation Directive. That means, not only that Member States have to produce implementing legislation, but also that they have discretion to go above and beyond what the Directive says. We are, therefore, looking (to a certain extent) at fragmented implementation across the EU although multi-jurisdictional companies can take comfort from the fact that they will be regulated in the place of their "main establishment". Read more about the Directive.

Data breaches

2016 has seen a number of significant data breaches and, curiously, a number of breaches which took place several years ago (re-)enter the public domain, presumably as criminals have sought to maximise revenue by putting data they have been exploiting within a closed group on the wider market. Nation state actors, or those allegedly linked to nation states, have also been in the public domain in a more significant way than in recent years, although this is, in reality, a matter of what has been made public rather than an increase in such activity. We have seen the hacking of WADA and the DNC and the leak of information and emails obtained from each, allegations of attacks on electronic voting terminals in the US and further breaches of data relating to military personnel.

On the commercial side, the Yahoo breach of around 500,000,000 records is now top of the list of the biggest breaches in the public domain, and raises interesting questions as to who knew what, and when, in relation to its acquisition by Verizon. In the UK, TalkTalk was the subject of the largest fine handed down by the Information Commissioner's Office to date, with the monetary penalty notice detailing its significant failings. It has since estimated the total cost of the breach to be around £60,000,000, and has lost a significant number of customers as a result.

Warnings made by regulators in September about the risk posed by the Internet of Things, were vindicated in October, after a number of major websites including Twitter, eBay, Paypal, Spotify and the Telegraph, went down following an attack on a domain name server based in New Hampshire. The attack was a distributed denial of service attack whereby malware was used to take control of numerous unsecured internet devices in order to flood the target with traffic, making it impossible for the server to respond to normal queries and direct browsers to the right website. This type of attack is relatively easy to carry out and hard to defend against. It is thought that the attack made use of connected devices which have easily breakable factory-installed default usernames and passwords and insufficient memory for firewalls.

GCHQ is reportedly intending to work with network providers to revise internet protocols in order to make them more resilient to DDoS attacks. It believes that changes can be made to the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and Signalling System 7 (SS7) standards which would help prevent trivial re-routing of UK traffic and text scams. ISPs have indicated that this is a potentially simplistic approach to a complex problem as well as a costly one and may do nothing more than move DDoS attacks to other countries.

UK government initiatives

The government published its annual report on the UK's cybersecurity strategy in April. The report claimed significant progress had been made both in terms of the UK's ability to protect itself at national and individual business level, and in terms of tackling cybercrime and developing the cybersecurity market. In November, the government has announced £1.9bn of funding to help put its updated National Cyber Security Strategy in place. The funding will be used to help develop automated defences to cyber attacks, make IoT devices less vulnerable and develop a skilled cyber defence workforce. A new cyber-innovation centre is also being set up in Cheltenham and GCHQ is reportedly working on a national firewall to help block malicious websites and emails.

EU initiatives

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) published a report in February, outlining the risks posed to cybersecurity by Big Data. The level of replication in Big Data storage and the tendency to outsource its storage as well as the repeated linking of different data sets, all create vulnerabilities and privacy impacts. ENISA urges a 'security by default' approach and sets out good practice suggestions including the use of cryptography, pseudonymisation and access controls.

In July, The EC published a Communication on cybersecurity which sets out measures to improve Europe's cyber resilience and help foster a competitive and innovative cybersecurity industry in Europe. The Communication proposes the creation of an information hub to pool expertise and a cybersecurity training platform. The Communication also promotes a single market in cybersecurity products and solutions.

The Commission also announced a Euro450m investment in a public-private partnership on cybersecurity.


  • ICO guidance for small businesses on IT security – the ICO published an updated guide for small businesses on IT security. It contains a step-by-step process to help companies assess threats, update their technology and come into line with the government's Cyber Essentials scheme.
  • G7 principles for the financial sector – the G7 Cyber Expert Group issued non-binding principles for the financial sector (private and public) to promote consistency of approach to cyber threats.

Read our predictions for cybersecurity in 2017.

Read more on Radar

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions