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‘Whole of Cyber’ approach has disrupted criminal activity on an ‘immense scale’, says GCHQ Director

GCHQ is combining both defensive and offensive cyber capabilities to disrupt criminal activity on an “immense scale” says GCHQ Director Sir Jeremy Fleming.

Speaking at the CYBERUK conference in Newport, Wales today, Sir Jeremy explained how the intelligence, cyber and security agency has used a “whole of cyber” approach to protect the country from tens of millions of pounds worth of potential fraud.

Fleming also highlighted how GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) protects the digital homeland including the Active Cyber Defence programme that took down more than 2.7 million online scams last year and through public awareness campaigns like Cyber Aware arming individuals and organisations with the tools they need to stay safe online.

In today’s speech at the Government’s flagship cyber security conference, which sets out the importance of cyber to the UK’s security and prosperity. Fleming said:

“The need to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online is ever more relevant.

We must continue to focus on cyber criminals and other malign actors who are adapting their tactics to make money. Through the NCF we are actively undermining the cybercriminals’ assumption that they can act with impunity on the internet. We have disrupted criminals making it clear that they are being observed and going after their ability to profit from the illegal activities.

Alongside our partners, we have mounted operations to undermine their networks, and prevent them from profiting from their crimes as well as denying them access to their cyber tools and malware.”

Whilst the UK Government is focusing on plans to protect itself, the government in Wales is also making good progress in its own cyber security. Sir Jeremy said:

“Here in Wales, cyber is bringing new opportunities too, enabled, encouraged, and supported by the Welsh government.

It starts with education. Wales now boasts academic centres of cyber excellence, producing world-class research and talented graduates with specialist skills needed throughout our economy… and in its International Strategy, the Welsh government is putting cyber security at its heart. This is about encouraging investments and exports. But it’s also about people and employment in Wales.”

The public sector is a key part of the government’s plans to keep citizens safe in cyberspace as it aims to “invest in public sector security to ensure that key public services remain resilient to evolving threats and can continue to deliver for citizens who need them.” This will mean working alongside leaders in the private and third sectors to support and inform the Government’s approach to cyber security and making sure that the UK is built on the highest level of cyber resilience.

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