A new centre to protect the UK against cyber-attacks is to be officially opened by the Queen later.The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in London is designed to improve Britain’s resilience to attacks and act as an operational nerve centre.
“We want to make the UK the hardest target,” Ciaran Martin, the centre’s chief executive, told the BBC.
The NCSC – part of intelligence agency GCHQ – says the UK is facing about 60 serious cyber-attacks a month.There were 188 attacks classed by the NCSC as Category Two or Three during the last three months and even though the UK has not experienced a Category One attack – the highest level, an example of which would have been there is no air of complacency at the NCSC’s new headquarters in Victoria.
“We have had significant losses of personal data, significant intrusions by hostile state actors, significant reconnaissance against critical national infrastructure – and our job is to make sure we deal with it in the most effective way possible,” Mr Martin says.
As well as protecting against and responding to high-end attacks on government and business, the NCSC also aims to protect the economy and wider society.The UK is one of the most digitally dependent economies, with the digital sector estimated to be worth over £118bn per year – which means the country has much to lose.
The NCSC aims to be more public facing and accessible. It will also protect a far wider range of sectors, rather than just government and national security-related industries, like defence. GCHQ will still be the parent body for the NCSC, meaning it can draw on the intelligence agency’s skills and capabilities.
The NCSC is working on trial services to pro-actively discover vulnerabilities in public sector websites, help government departments better manage spoofing of their email, and take down tens of thousands of phishing sites affecting the UK.
“We’re actively working to reduce the harm caused by cyber-attacks against the UK and will use the government as a guinea pig for all the measures we want to see done by industry at national scale,” says the NCSC technical director, Dr Ian Levy.
Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. Their website offers advice on how you can protect yourself, your computers and devices, and your business against the likes of fraud, identity theft, viruses and other potential online problems.
ThinkUKnow is a national website which offers tailored advice to young people about online safety concerns. There is also a section on there if you are a parent/carer or a teacher who is concerned about a young person’s safety online.