Happy First Birthday NCSC

 In ITC's Threat of the Week

My, didn’t that year go quickly? It seems like only yesterday when the National Cyber Security Centre was launched, perhaps because the official opening of the London premises by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh was in February this year, or perhaps we are getting older and busier.

Billed as a ‘one stop shop for UK cyber security’, the NCSC is an amalgamation of GCHQ and other government resources dedicated to improving the safety of online life in the UK.

So, a year on and the first report card is out. You can download it yourself here, read the headmasters headlines here or just sit back and let bloggers (like us), the length and breadth of the Nation, force feed you with their perspectives. Probably best you read the original yourselves!

Unlike usual school reports (at least ours), the NCSC end of year missive doesn’t really have a section marked ‘must try harder’ or ‘could do better if he/she stopped larking around’ and is also written to be readable by self confessed ‘non techies’, for instance the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd. That aside however the document makes for engaging and positive reading.

Amongst the high-level achievements, and there are many, is the fact that 590 significant incidents were dealt with in a year including one (WannaCry, see below) which was the first ever cyber incident to instigate the government’s COBR (Cabinet Office Briefing Room – the report doesn’t specify Briefing Room A..) procedure. Also the NCSC claims to have reduced the time a phishing site is online from 27 hours to 1 hour – no mean feat.

The two takeout attacks are the ‘sustained and determined cyber-attack’ on parliamentary types in June 2017 and the WannaCry outbreak in May 2017. The response to the WannaCry outbreak comes complete with a rather fancy flow diagram, which looks like it was designed in Shoreditch, not Cheltenham. Despite looking at this flowchart very hard however, we are unable to see the heroic activity of our favourite hacker Marcus Hutchens who stopped WannaCry in its tracks by registering a domain name or two and is now on bail in the USA charged with heinous prior hacking crimes, funny that.

Seriously though, the work of NCSC from an almost standing start has been nothing short of impressive. The activities and programmes to encourage children and young adults (especially girls) to engage with cyber security are incredibly encouraging. Developing kids is going to be essential as the problem gets worse and the skills shortage bites hard.

So thank you very much for your hard work NCSC, keep it coming.

If you would like to discus cyber security or have a chat about the threat landscape, please contact us at: [email protected] or call 020 7517 3900.

Author: Kevin Whelan

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