A new centre to protect the UK against cyber-attacks was officially opened by the Queen on 14th February 2017.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in London is designed to improve Britain’s resilience to attacks and act as an operational nerve centre.
“We want to make the UK the hardest target,” Ciaran Martin, the centre’s chief executive, told the BBC.
The NCSC – part of intelligence agency GCHQ – says the UK is facing about 60 serious cyber-attacks a month. There were 188 attacks classed by the NCSC as Category Two or Three, against national security, during the last three months.
And even though the UK has not experienced a Category One attack – the highest level, an example of which would have been the theft of confidential details of millions of Americans from the Office of Personnel Management – there is no air of complacency at the NCSC’s new headquarters in Victoria.
“We have had significant losses of personal data, significant intrusions by hostile state actors, significant reconnaissance against critical national infrastructure – and our job is to make sure we deal with it in the most effective way possible,” Mr Martin says.
As well as protecting against and responding to high-end attacks on government and business, the NCSC also aims to protect the economy and wider society.
The UK is 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.