The Queen was given a tour of the centre and shown demonstrations of how cyber attacks could affect the UK ©PA Images
The Queen was given a tour of the centre and shown demonstrations of how cyber attacks could affect the UK ©PA Images

Cyber security centre to 'make UK the safest place online'

14 February 2017

A centre to improve cyber security in the UK was opened by the Queen today.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was created to be the UK’s centralised authority on cyber threats and will function as a single point of contact for businesses looking for advice or up-to-date information.

It will also provide a 24 hour, 365 days a year support service for serious incidents of cyber breaches.

“Our job is to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online” said Ciaran Martin, CEO of NCSC. “We will help secure our critical services, lead the response to the most serious incidents and improve the underlying security of the internet through technological improvement and advice to citizens and organisations.” 

Cyber attacks pose a large financial and reputational risk to businesses. The 2015 hack of telephone and internet provider TalkTalk cost the firm £60m including loss of revenue, and Tesco Bank’s breach last year cost it £2.5m.

The Queen, accompanied by Prince Philip and the chancellor Phillip Hammond, toured the new building and were given demonstrations of how cyber threats could affect the UK.

Hammond also launched an initiative to help industry engage NCSC by embedding representatives from different sectors into the centre. Called NCSC Industry 100, the aim is to help the centre identify of threats and develop advice to reduce the impact of future attacks.

NCSC is part of the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy, which is backed by £1.9bn of investment. It has already started working with critical infrastructure providers to improve their security.

Dr Ian Levy, NCSC’s technical director, said the centre would “use the government as a guinea pig for all the measures we want to see done by industry”.

“This includes everything from free website vulnerability scanning for the public sector and proactively taking down tens of thousands of phishing sites, to our world leading CyberFirst campaign to encourage teenagers to become tomorrow’s cyber security pioneers,” he said.

The centre consolidates and replaces a number of cyber security institutions, including the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance (CESG), the Centre for Cyber Assessment, Computer Emergency Response Team UK and the cyber responsibilities of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.

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