An additional £70 million in funding to help boost the UK's cyber defences will focus on ensuring that new devices are secure by design, the government has announced.

Business secretary Greg Clark announced the plans, which aim to make the UK a world leader in eradicating some of the most damaging security issues businesses face today, to coincide with Data Privacy Day, which takes place today (January 28th).

The funding will support research intended to ensure that hardware is made more secure and resilient right from the initial design and development stages. This is something that is set to become particularly important in the coming years as the number of connected devices continues to grow.

It was estimated there are set to be some 420 million Internet of Things tools in use in the UK within the next three years, so it will be vital to ensure these are not opening up new vulnerabilities for businesses and consumers.

Mr Clark said: "With businesses having to invest more and more in tackling ever more complex cyber attacks, 'designing in' security measures into the hardware's fabric will not only protect our businesses and consumers but ultimately cut the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses."

He added that focusing on security at this stage could offer "a real step-change" in security, ensuring that businesses are better protected from attacks.

The government's figures suggest that four out of ten businesses experienced a security breach or attempted attack in the last 12 months. As a result of this, firms are increasing the amount they spend on their cyber defences by as much as 20 to 40 per cent in some cases.

Digital minister Margot James added that the new funding will help shift the burden away from consumers and on to device manufacturers, "improving the strength and resilience of hardware to better protect consumers from cyber attacks".

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