The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was officially launched this week – a government sponsored organization that is focused on improving the UK’s cyber security and cyber resilience.
The NCSC will use its new offices in Victoria, London “to manage incidents, analyze threats and offer advice on online security, enabling generations to navigate the internet safely and to be protected from the growing threat of online attack,” the organization said in a statement.
“Our job is to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online,” said NCSC CEO Ciaran Martin. “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 organizations.”
“This cutting-edge centre will cement our position as world leader in cyber security and work carried out here will ensure our country remains resilient to potential attacks,” said UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, during a speech at the official launch of the centre on Feb. 14.
The internet revolution has transformed the UK economy but it also is “a source of vulnerability,” Hammond said, noting that cyber attacks are increasing in frequency, severity and sophistication. “Business has to sharpen its approach as the scale of the threat from cyber increases and intensifies.”
Hammond detailed some statistics to show the extent of the UK’s vulnerability to cyber attacks:
- The digital sector is worth more than £118 billion ($147.5 billion) per year to the UK economy and 83 percent of UK businesses are online
- 65 percent of large business reported a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months
- Nine out of 10 businesses don’t have a cyber incident management plan in place
- The average British home has eight devices connected to the internet, which provides enormous potential for cyber attacks, “from electronic data theft to online ransom.”
While the new NCSC office was officially launched on Feb. 14, the organization already has mobilized to respond to 188 attacks since October, Hammond affirmed.
Comments from Sciemus
Commenting on the opening of the NCSC, Daniel Carr, Cyber Security director at Sciemus, said the insurance industry should follow the example of the UK government-sponsored NCSC “by hiring specialist expertise, and more closely integrating cyber security expertise to understand the nature of this ever-evolving risk.”
(In addition to being a modeling and analytics company, London-based Sciemus also operates as a managing general agent with specialty in underwriting space, power, mining, renewable energy and cyber risks).
“There are a limited number of individuals – be they in government, the security services or in private sector consultancies – who really have a firm understanding of cyber risk,” Carr said.
“The insurance industry needs to work hard to ensure we attract experts and their knowledge to the industry. Closer collaboration will ensure the insurance sector can provide not only more fitting solutions to cyber risk, but that we do so sustainably and responsibly,” he added.
“However, if the insurance industry fails to keep up with the complex nature of cyber risk, and relies too heavily on traditional methods to address this risk, then cyber poses a significant threat to the long-term future of the industry.”