Her Majesty the Queen has officially opened the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in London. The Centre’s aim is to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks against the UK.
Part of the GCHQ intelligence agency, the NCSC says the UK is facing 60 serious attacks each month. In the past three months alone, the NCSC classified 188 attacks as Category Two or Category Three.
A Category One attack – which has not yet happened in the UK – would be akin to the massive theft of details about millions of Americans from the Office of Personnel Management in 2015.
Reports have named the UK as one of the most digitally dependent economies, with the digital sector estimated to be worth over £118bn per year – which means the country has much to lose.
NCSC Chief Executive Ciaran Martin said: “In the most serious cases, we have lawful powers where we can go after the infrastructure of adversaries – the infrastructure that people use to attack us – and we would do that in some of the most serious cases several dozen times a year.”
Recruiting a new generation of security experts
A five-year National Cyber Security Strategy was announced in November 2016, with £1.9bn of investment.
A pivotal part of the NCSC strategy is to recruit a new generation of cyber security experts, through its CyberFirst programme, which aims to find, finesse and fast-track tomorrow’s online security experts.
Up to 250 recruits will now be able to receive £4,000 student bursaries, paid work placements and employment on graduation after more than 20 companies pledged their support to the government initiative.
Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for NCSC skills and growth said: “This is the first time government and industry have come together to make a concerted attempt to inspire and support a whole generation of young people to take up a role in cyber security.
“Cyber security is a fascinating career choice which is fundamental to our modern digital society and we are delighted our industry colleagues are supporting CyberFirst.”