Posted on 15/02/2017
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was officially opened yesterday by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, with a keynote speech from the Foreign Secretary (and our local MP) Phillip Hammond. The event was witnessed by around 100 participants, with a very rough 50:50 split between NCSC staff and invited guests from government, industry, academia and foreign partners. The NCSC is part of GCHQ and has actually been in existence since October 2016, and in its short life has already co-ordinated responses to 188 security incidents. The NCSC is part of the government's security strategy to make the UK the hardest national attack target in the world and in doing so help our digital economy thrive in a safe and secure environment. Although the NCSC has a serious responsive role it is very much about developing and co-ordinating our security capabilities. Evidence of this is in initiatives to expand cyber security education to ensure a very healthy supply of future security experts and a generally security aware population. In his keynote speech, Phillip Hammond stressed the government's resolve and financial commitment to this initiative and that whilst major/critical systems are of course a first priority, the benefits must extend to medium and small organisations and society as a whole. Furthermore, the UK is starting from a position of good capability, but in order to address the growing challenges and threats it should (and clearly is) upping its game in cyber security, and will consider offensive as well as defensive capabilities.
Professor Keith Mayes, Head of the School of Mathematics and Information Security and Director of the Information Security Group (ISG) at Royal Holloway, University of London said "I was honoured to be invited to the royal opening of the NCSC, which occupies one (and eventually two) floors in an impressive building at 160 Victoria Street. The creation of the NCSC and the government's determination and financial backing are extremely re-assuring for anyone who has been working in information/cyber security for a long time. The ISG was formed about the same time as the internet in 1990 and in all those years it has been educating, researching and trying to raise awareness and acceptance of the growing risks from cyber security attacks; well finally everyone gets it! I particularly look forward to the co-ordinating activities of the NCSC as currently it is so easy to be distracted in the fog of cyber security initiatives that seem to pop-up on an almost daily basis. There are so many (well-meaning) organisations jumping on the cyber band-wagon that it is very easy to dissipate one's energy and resources supporting the wrong activities. As head of the ISG I would like the NCSC to offer clear guidance on national priorities and exactly what activities and programmes it would like us to focus on so we can do our bit to help deliver the government's hard-target strategy."
For more information about cyber security education offered by the Information Security Group, please see our information for prospective students.