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NCSC shows support for common standards for secure communication

The UK cyber security authority is supporting an industry drive towards common standards for secure communication by joining an industry organisation that aims to achieve this goal

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has joined not-for-profit membership organisation Secure Chorus, which is focused on secure business communications.

Secure Chorus serves as a platform for public-private sector collaboration and is committed to developing a security baseline for the digital economy in the field of secure multimedia communication. 

The NCSC’s membership as a government member underlines support for common standards for secure enterprise communication.

As part of its remit to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online, the NCSC said in statement that it is seeking to raise the standard of defences by developing innovative measures that secure digital services and protect the UK at scale.

The organisation said it recognises and supports the role that Secure Chorus is playing to contribute to the development of a safer UK digital economy.

Other Secure Chorus members include major global telecommunication operators, system integrators, defence prime contractors, academic institutions, trade bodies and technology companies.

Members include Vodafone, O2, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Leonardo, Sepura, Serbus, Cryptify, Armour Communications, SQR Systems, ISARA Corporation, Secoti, Surevine, Galaxkey, Cyber Synopsis, CSIT, University College London (UCL) and TechUK.

Ian Levy, technical director of the NCSC, said: “One of the key objectives of the National Cyber Security Centre is to enable a safe digital economy and we see easy, secure communication for enterprises as key to that.

“Secure Chorus will play a role in convening a much-needed forum to bring together global industry, governments and academia to promote the development of an ecosystem of secure and interoperable products based on open standards.”

Secure Chorus was originally formed in 2012 as an industry-led working group, focusing on supporting the UK government’s requirement for protecting “official” and “official sensitive” communications, with the aim of ensuring that any multimedia communication in UK government is appropriately protected.

The organisation has restructured to enable the creation of a global platform for public-private sector engagement, to support the development of forward-looking strategies, common standards and tangible capabilities, all aimed at building cyber resilience in the field of multimedia communication for the enterprise.

Read more about the NCSC

  • Initiatives by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre have detected and prevented millions of online commodity attacks, the agency’s first annual report shows.
  • The NSC started several initiatives in its first year with the aim of using data drawn from those to drive better cyber security practices.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre is unashamedly ambitious in aiming to make the UK the safest place to do business online, which chief Ciaran Martin sees as an achievable goal.
  • The UK’s NCSC and NCA publish a joint report on the cyber threats facing UK businesses, outlining the best response strategies.

According to Secure Chorus, the requirement for secure multimedia communications exists across a variety of sectors, including central government, public safety, financial services, healthcare, power and other critical national infrastructure.

Elisabetta Zaccaria, chair of Secure Chorus, said: “We recognise that the global digital world needs baseline security as much as the non-digital world. We firmly believe that this can be achieved only through increased public-private collaboration and development of common standards.

“We are delighted to see that our vision and modus operandi aligns with several important initiatives at global level, such as the recent launch of the World Economic Forum Centre for Cyber Security.”

Secure Chorus is currently working on several initiatives in collaboration with industry members, which it said have engendered the development of a growing ecosystem of secure and interoperable products, services and infrastructure for multimedia communication.

The organisation’s work also includes the development of a post-quantum identity-based crypto scheme to update Secure Chorus’s current cryptography standard.

The aim of this ecosystem approach is to enable secure, cross-platform multimedia communications that are highly scalable and flexible and give the domain manager full control of the system’s security.

Each of these initiatives is aimed at contributing to the development of a safer UK digital economy, said Secure Chorus.

The UK government set up the NCSC in 2017 as part of a five-year National Cyber Security Strategy, supported by £1.9bn investment.

The NCSC is designed to provide a single, central body for cyber security at a national level and is the UK’s technical authority on cyber. It manages national cyber security incidents, carries out real-time threat analysis and provides tailored sectoral advice.

GCHQ is the parent body of the NCSC, which means it can draw on the organisation’s world-class skills and sensitive capabilities.

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