Come early October, London will become the first line of defense against cyber warfare. In 2015, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was announced as a groundbreaking cyberdefense organization. The NCSC is now ready to engage in the growing war against online threats from around the globe.
Mainly focusing on cyber attacks emanating from China and Russia, the NCSC will implement new methods of automatic cyberdefense. The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) says NCSC is groundbreaking when it comes to setting new standards in cybersecurity. One aspect of this new standard is an “automatic government firewall.”
The NCSC will be working with some of the best technological minds and organizations to block malware and phishing emails automatically. Ciaran Martin, the intelligence agency’s director general of cyber security, explained NCSC and the upcoming firewall at a conference in Washington. The firewall, he explained, would be used by internet service providers such as BT, Sky and Virgin.
“What better way of providing automated defences at scale than by the major private providers effectively blocking their customers from coming into contact with known malware and bad addresses?” Martin asked the audience at another cybersecurity conference.
While the creation of the firewall is still underway, basic functions have already been implemented. In London, the firewall is able to block high-volume but simple cyber attacks. Recently, fake government email addresses were being used to exploit of the public. The firewall was able to block the sending of 58,000 malicious emails per day.
“We trialled it, and whoever was sending 58,000 malicious emails per day from [email protected] isn’t doing it anymore,” Martin said.
The former Minister for the Cabinet Office, Matt Hancock, gave the audience more information on the flagship project. “It will be the authoritative voice on information security in the UK and one of its first tasks will be to work with the Bank of England to produce advice for the financial sector for managing cyber security effectively.”
As the program evolved from a concept into an operating entity, a deeper integration with the private sector was established. “The NHS, universities and local government will be offered more support to protect the huge amount of data they hold and to guard against intrusions,” EveningStandard reports.
Major collaboration will with telecommunication providers, security firms, universities, banks, and energy services. Many national infrastructures and business are on board as well. The NCSC will serve as cyberdefense for large organizations throughout the UK, especially focusing on London.
NCSC will be playing the defensive role, protecting London and other target areas of the UK from attacks that are becoming more sophisticated and routine. The organization can operate offensively if the situation requires it. GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence are prepared to provide funding and offensive cyber capabilities if such situation occurs.
Martin tells the public “Our role is helping to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online. So we’ll tackle the major threats from hostile states and criminal gangs.” He follows up saying “we’ll also work tirelessly to protect people automatically from those smaller scale and deeply damaging attacks.”
He lists the goals as outlined below:
The NCSC, believed to be a world first with its links to the intelligence service, will have four key tasks:
- Respond to cyber security attacks to limit their damage, help with recovery and learn lessons to reduce the risks of recurrence. For very serious incidents, messages may have to be issued on how the public can protect themselves.
- Cut risks to the UK by working with public and private sector organisations to beef up their cyber security.
- Understand the cyber security environment, share knowledge and use that expertise to identify and address systemic vulnerabilities.
- Build Britain’s cyber security capability and provide leadership on critical issues by identifying threats and technology trends.