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UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) chief Ciaran Martin has called for greater collaboration in the UK and externally to tackle the cyber threat.
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“I am welcoming you to the latest and crucial stage of a vital national fightback against cyber crime and cyber attack,” he told the opening session of the NCSC’s CyberUK conference taking place in Liverpool.
The cyber threat to UK business is significant and growing according to a joint report by the NCSC and the National Crime Agency (NCA) published to coincide with the opening of the three-day conference.
The report also highlights that nearly half of all crime committed in the UK, is in some way cyber-enabled.
Cyber security matters, said Martin, because it is about our way of life, from the security of devices we use as consumers, to the security of the data entrusted to us and protecting the things that really matter like the democratic process.
“We live in a liberal democracy with values that we should cherish but sometimes take for granted. And if we don’t get cyber security right, then the fundamentals of our economy and our way of life could be challenged,” he said.
Emphasising the practical aim of the conference attended by 2,500 industry experts, Martin said: “We are not here to admire the problem or talk evermore about threats. We are here to fight back and fix it.
“So it is a partnership with a purpose that is aimed at real, hard outcomes, and we are evolving in the way we partner between government, industry and academia.”
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Martin cited as an example of this outcome-based partnership the NCSC’s planned accelerator programme this is aimed at helping small companies to develop “really clever” cyber defences.
Similarly, he said the NCSC plans to share data at scale with large providers, to open a laboratory where the best innovators can work with the NCSC in an unclassified environment, to develop industry-specific guidance, and to partner with UK citizens.
“We are unashamedly ambitious with the National Cyber Security Strategy and the new National Cyber Security Centre,” said Martin.
“From the NCSC’s point of view, we want to be the best in the world at what we do. Not just to give ourselves a pat on the back, but because we want to be part of an effort that makes the UK the safest place to live and do business online,” he said, adding that he believed it was an achievable goal.
A key theme of the CyberUK conference, said Martin, is using data and skills – including top class skills of a world class intelligence agency – and getting that out to global commerce by communicating that more effectively.