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590 ‘significant’ cyber threats in last year

The National Cyber Security Centre has released a report (NCSC) detailing its achievements over the last 12 months and how it works to protect against cyber-attacks.

With more devices connected to the internet than there are people, there is an ever-increasing cyber security threat. The NCSC has brought together MI5 and GCHQ to operate as part of the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy, creating a single authority on UK cyber security.

In the past year, the organisation has launched Active Cyber Defense, which it says has prevented thousands of attacks and reduced the average life-span of a phishing site from 27 hours to just one hour.

It has created a website to provide the public with information and advice, and held a three-day conference to share best practice. Its Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership, which allows its community to share information about cyber threats, sees over 4,000 visitors per month. 

In NCSC’s first year, there were 590 cyber incident reports which were classed as ‘significant,’ and over 30 were deemed serious enough to warrant a cross-government response, which the NCSC coordinated, including an attack on parliamentary email accounts in June 2017.

Back in May this year, Wannacry ransomware attacked a significant number of networks in the UK, with a particularly catastrophic effect on NHS systems – 47 trusts were affected, leading to ambulances being diverted and operations being cancelled. An emergency response between the NCSC, NHS Digital, the Department of Health and NHS Improvement supported the health service through the attack, helping trusts to get back online and identifying its vulnerabilities in security.

The NCSC has hosted over 1,000 young people on CyberFirst courses, identifying and nurturing young talent with a focus on attracting women into the male-dominated industry of technology and cyber security.

Speaking to the CBI last month, Ciaran Martin, chief executive of NCSC, celebrated the UK’s achievements. He said: “Thanks to the deep expertise of GCHQ and other bodies, the UK has if not the most, one of the most sophisticated understandings of the nature of the threat anywhere in Europe.”


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