UK prepares to open its doors to the ‘National Cyber Security Centre’

The new body responsible for the UK’s cyber security which was unveiled by the Chancellor last October has been named and will officially open its doors in London in October 2016.

The National Cyber Security Centre (“NCSC”) will be the pooling point for guidance and communications on cyber security. Historically, this function has been handled by GCHQ, however, as a secret intelligence service, this has been off limits to business resulting in a lack of clarity in this key area of national risk.

The new entity will have one foot in the closed intelligence world and the other in the public and corporate space. The NCSC will work with regulators such as the Bank of England to provide advice to the private sector and with government departments and national infrastructure groups.

In the event of a cyber attack, the liability would still vest with the entity that owns the data, but the NCSC would be the first port of call should another major cyber breach like the TalkTalk incident taking place. Additionally it will be at the fulcrum for setting standards for the financial sector to increase resilience against cyber threats which could impact the UK economy.

In an interview with the BBC, Matthew Hancock, the Minister for the Cabinet Office said, “We need to have a one-stop shop that people inside and outside government can go to”, saying that the NCSC will aim to be the authoritative voice on information security in the UK.

Designed to bring the UK’s cyber expertise into one place, the Board appointments have been announced: Ciaran Martin, currently a senior official at GCHQ, will be the NCSC’s first head and joining him will be Dr Ian Levy, as Technical Director (also from GCHQ).

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All of this follows recent news of the opening (also in October 2016), of a national cyber security academy at Newport in Wales, aimed at training people to fight internet crime. Computer forensics and computer security undergraduates will be trained to work with businesses to identify cyber challenges. If successful, the course will be developed into a full-time cyber security degree. With some companies spending £16m per year to protect themselves online, this couldn’t come sooner for business as cyber crime becomes viperishly more intelligent.

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