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Queen officially opens GCHQ cyber security centre as UK aims to be safest place to live and work online

In what will prove to be a major milestone in the UK’s efforts to defend against cyber attacks, the new National Cyber Security Centre will be officially launched by Her Majesty The Queen.

The Queen, accompanied by the Chancellor Phillip Hammond, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, Minister for the Cabinet Office Ben Gummer and Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock, will take a guided tour of the London Centre and will be shown demonstrations by NCSC staff of the UK’s past, present and future cyber threats.

The London centre, part of GCHQ, will be tasked with using the best data, skills and capabilities to make the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online.

The cyber centre is part of the UK government’s five year National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) that was announced last November, which will be supported by a £1.9bn investment.

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It will work along with UK organisations, businesses and individuals to provide comprehensive cyber security advice and management.

NCSC CEO Ciaran Martin said: “Our job is to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online.

“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.

“We want to be at the centre of a new era of online opportunity and help people to feel as safe as possible when using technology to its fullest potential.”

The institute will open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 365 days a year and shall offer advice and information along with support for incidents which need high level of engagement.

According to NCSC, it will work closely with law enforcement and the wider public sector, including the National Crime Agency (NCA) to support cyber security awareness campaigns.

Scott Rubin, Head of Policy at Tanium said: “It is fitting that this initiative receives a regal opening, given the significant role it will play in bridging the gap between business and government, and coordinating a response to the growing cyber threat that faces the UK.

GCHQ cyber security

“Discussions on cyber security are rarely given the same priority in corporate boardrooms, leaving many of the UK’s biggest businesses dangerously exposed. Only a third of the leaders of UK’s top 350 companies say they understand the threat of a cyber-attack and even fewer are regularly updated about security threats.

The NCSC brings together and replaces three cyber security organisations – the Centre of Cyber Assessment (CCA), Computer Emergency Response Team UK (CERT UK), and the CESG (GCHQ’s information security arm). The centre will also assume the responsibilities of Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).

NCSC technical director Ian Levy said: “We’re actively working to reduce the harm caused by cyber attacks against the UK and will use the government as a guinea pig for all the measures we want to see done by industry at national scale.

“This includes everything from free website vulnerability scanning for 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.

“These initiatives illustrate the sort of cutting edge innovation the NCSC will spearhead to make Britain as safe as possible to both live and work online – and we’ll do it transparently, driven by evidence and publishing our results.”

NCC Group technical director Ollie Whitehouse said: “In a short time it has established itself as a key element of the UK’s cyber defences. As a member of various NCSC schemes – including its cyber incident response scheme – we look forward to our continued close working relationship in helping protect the UK, its industries and its citizens from the threats posed by cyber attacks.

“The NCSC’s creation shows that the government recognises the scale of the cyber threat to both individuals and businesses.”
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CBR Staff Writer

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