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UK Plc invited to sign up for Early Warning of cyber incidents

The launch of the Early Warning incident notification service is among the enhancements being made by the NCSC to its service packages

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has announced the addition of an Early Warning cyber incident notification service to its Active Cyber Defence programme, inviting organisations from across the country to sign up for timely alerts about cyber attacks on their networks.

Launched at the virtual CyberUK 2021 event, which is taking place on 11 and 12 May, the service will be free to use, and help organisations improve their cyber preparedness by filtering trusted threat intelligence sources to create specialist alerts for users, prompting them to investigate any malicious activity and take steps to protect themselves. It has already been road-tested by a number of organisations.

“When it comes to defending against online threats, having relevant, timely alerts you can trust about malicious activity is vital for any organisation,” said Eleanor Fairford, the NCSC’s deputy director for incident management.

“The NCSC’s new Early Warning service delivers on this, by providing organisations specialised alerts about potential cyber threats affecting their networks,” she said.

“We encourage organisations to sign up for this service to help them resolve security issues quickly and reduce the risk of serious harm being done.”

Subscribers will get access to a number of specially tailored benefits, such as alerts based on their network details, and access to sources of information that are not generally made available. The alerts themselves will cover possible network compromises, notification of assets that might have been associated with undesirable activity, or the presence of vulnerable or unpatched services on their networks.

The NCSC said it hoped the service would slot neatly into wider organisational defence strategies and complement – not replace – existing cyber security controls.

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In the run-up to CyberUK 2021, the NCSC has released a plethora of new services and guidance, including refreshed support and free cyber training for the education sector, and new guidelines for securing connected smart city projects.

At the event itself, it also announced the refreshment of advice for large organisations, taking into account the growth in use of cloud services and remote working during the pandemic.

The ongoing event has also hosted discussions on skills and diversity in the industry, protecting online consumer accounts, and supporting the NHS against the ongoing surge in ransomware attacks.

Speakers have included home secretary Priti Patel, who announced planned reforms of the Computer Misuse Act, and SolarWinds CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna, who shared new insight into how the organisation is moving forward following last year’s wide-ranging cyber attack on the US government, which exploited its software, and called for a new spirit of collaboration within the security sector.

The event sessions are available to stream online globally via YouTube.

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