Major cyber attack on UK ‘a matter of when, not if’ warns National Cyber Security Centre chief

Written by Sam Trendall on 24 January 2018 in News

Ciaran Martin the UK would be “fortunate” not to suffer a category one assault by the end of the decade

Cyber attack - Image credit: Pixabay

The chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, Ciaran Martin, has warned that a major cyber attack on the UK is inevitable.

Martin said it was a matter of “a matter of when, not if” the UK would suffer a category one cyber attack, adding that the country would be lucky to make it to the end of this decade without being hit.

A category one attack is a major attack that would cripple infrastructure services and require a national response.

It could include an attempt to harm an election process or be an assault that brought down energy infrastructure or banking services.

An aggressive cyber incursion from a rogue nation could also be classed as a category one attack.

Last year’s WannaCry ransomware attack which impacted the NHS was only classed as a category two attack.

Speaking to The Guardian, Martin said: “I think it is a matter of when, not if, and we will be fortunate to come to the end of the decade without having to trigger a category one attack.”

“Some attacks will get through. What you need to do [when they do] is cauterise the damage.”

Figures published by the NCSC in October revealed that, in its first 12 months in operation, the centre had worked to combat a total of 591 “significant” cyberattacks, including 30 that required NCSC to coordinate a pan-government response.

Housed within GCHQ, the National Cyber Security Centre was launched in October 2016 to serve as a central source of expertise and oversight for the government’s cybersecurity operations.

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