The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was launched last year in the UK to provide a single entity for national cybersecurity. The core of the NCSC mission is “Active Cyber Defense” Conrad Prince, U.K. Cyber Security Ambassador, told the 8th Annual Billington CyberSecurity Summit audience Sept. 13. His important keynote follows last year’s talk by Ciaran Martin, CEO, NCSC at the 7th Billington summit who detailed the NCSC for the first time to a U.S. audience.
The NCSC focuses on the most significant cyber incidents affecting the UK. Since its launch last October, the NCSC has been involved in 480 incidents and deals with approximately 60 serious attacks a month. This is twice the level of incidents that the UK witnessed in 2014.
Amb. Prince pointed to this year’s WannaCry Ransomware attack as a “real test” for the NCSC. WannaCry demonstrated the speed that public services and other services can be affected, he said, but the National Centre was able to get victims up and running quickly. The UK is also seeking ways to incentivize critical infrastructure cyber safety, proposing fines of up £17 million or 4% of turnover for poor cybersecurity.
Find, Finesses and Fast Track Tomorrow’s Security Experts
Like other speakers at the summit, Prince noted the importance of developing a skilled cyber workforce. “We need to ensure that we have skills to meet this exponentially growing demand and we’re inspiring a new generation in cybersecurity.”
To support skills development, the UK government has created a cyber skills program with a comprehensive cyber curriculum in the classroom and online to offer real world challenges and work experiences. The government is working with private industry on this program and has set aside up to £20 million for the schools’ program. The goal is to have 5,700 teenagers trained by 2021.
Other workforce programs in the UK include cyber apprenticeships for critical sectors and the Cyber First program aimed at identifying individuals with the aptitude to become cybersecurity experts.
Also, delivering a wonderful keynote from a key Five Eyes partner was Dr. Tobias Feakin, Australia’s inaugural Ambassador for Cyber Affairs.