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