Life-threatening cyber attack on UK likely

Publishing a report on the scale of cyber threats to the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned that a life-threatening incident will almost inevitably strike the UK.

In its second annual review, the NCSC stated that it has handled more than 10 attacks a week in the last two years, including 557 cyber incidents in the last 12 months. Ciaran Martin, CEO of the NCSC, confirmed that the majority of the attacks ‘were undertaken by groups of computer hackers directed, sponsored or tolerated by the governments of those countries’.

The threat if a ‘category 1’ case, which is expected, could possibly result in severe economic or social consequences or loss of life, causing ‘sustained disruption’ of essential services or affects national security.

The report, which reveals 1,167 cyber incidents have been dealt with since NCSC’s inception two years ago, says that the Active Cyber Defence (ACD) initiative has reduced the UK’s share of visible global phishing attacks by more than half; from 5.3 per cent to 2.4 per cent since its launch.

Martin said: “I’m extremely proud that the NCSC is strengthening the UK’s defences against those who seek to harm us online. We are calling out unacceptable behaviour by hostile states and giving our businesses the specific information they need to defend themselves. We are improving our critical systems. We are helping to make using the Internet automatically safer.

“As we move into our third year, a major focus of our work will be providing every citizen with the tools they need to keep them safe online. I’m confident that the NCSC will continue to provide the best line of defence in the world to help the UK thrive in the digital age.”

David Lidington, Minister for the Cabinet Office, added: “As the minister with responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy, I am proud of what NCSC has achieved in just two years of operations. Our National Cyber Security Strategy set out ambitious proposals for how this Government will defend our people, deter our adversaries and develop UK capabilities to ensure we remains the safest place to live and do business online. NCSC has more than risen to this challenge, defending the UK from over 1,100 cyber attacks and reducing the UK’s share of global phishing attacks by more than half.”

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