In recent days and weeks you may have heard about the establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre on the news or in the papers; but what actually is the NCSC? We caught up with the Home Secretary, u/MatthewHinton12345, to find out ecalfty what the NCSC is all about.
Could you explain what the National Cyber Security Centre is and how you believe it will benefit our security services?
“The National Cyber Security Centre is one of those institutions that will, I am sure, quickly establish itself as an indispensable component of not only our rather rarefied defence and security apparatus, but of everyday life. Yes of course, it will be toiling behind the scenes in conjunction with all of the other vital agencies that make up our intelligence community, defending the United Kingdom, its infrastructure and its people as you would expect an organisation of its kind to do. But it will also serve to guide business and the British people, providing support, advice and assistance for both the public and private sector, ensuring everyone is adequately prepared for a world that is constantly technologically evolving, in terms of threats and indeed opportunities.”
It’s clear that the First Secretary of State has very high expectations for this new centre, but with GCHQ already in the public limelight will it overshadow the new NCSC? Apparently not.
“I suppose GCHQ is certainly well-established, yes, and existing intelligence agencies do occupy a position of mystery and intrigue in the public imagination. But the NCSC will almost be forced to the fore because of the proactive role it’ll play in ensuring that the public and companies are doing all they can do to be shielded from cyber threats, both state-perpetrated, state-sponsored, group-backed and of course the threats led by individuals with malign intent. Our intelligence community, contrary to what one might have seen in Spooks, relies on inter-agency cooperation and the NCSC will be no different. Irrespective of that, the NCSC is designed to protect the United Kingdom from threats, if it can fulfil that objective with the distinction that has come to define the British security apparatus, then that’s all that matters. Not publicity.”
How do you see the NCSC carrying out its role to educate people in issues related to cyber security?
“The National Cyber Security Centre will be taking a proactive role when it comes to its responsibilities involving the private sector and the public. It’ll engage, actively, with businesses, organisations and people, dispensing advice and expertise, delivering training and answering questions. This public service, almost civic nature, of the centre will be absolutely crucial in readying the United Kingdom for the cyber age.”
A new and perhaps revolutionary idea for a security service which deals with such high level sensitive data to take an active part not only in public life but in educating and advising the public as well.
Do you believe this is a step in the right direction for cybersecurity?
“Unquestionably. We need this sort of two-pronged approach, working with the public in one way and with the intelligence community in another, to keep abreast of all the developments and challenges that we may, or in all likelihood will, face.”
A strong message from the Home Secretary, there is no doubt in his mind that this is the correct next step, a sentiment that is echoed throughout Westminster from what we have heard here at the Spectator.
We managed to catch up with the Minister for Cybersecurity u/FPSlover1, to get his word on the NCSC and after a brief conversation he answered two pressing questions for us.
Besides the tasks set out in the legislation, what objectives do you see the organisation playing in the Cybersecurity space?
“Well these recent events with Russia have certainly raised additional levels of responsibility. A lot of it is the more organizational role, whereas in this situation we’ve had to contend with multiple different levels of government and multiple different agencies for responses, a more centralized response system, protocols, and the like, will do absolute wonders to not only prevent adverse effects, but potentially use them offensively as appropriate.”
Are there any nations or states which may in particular threaten our national Cyberspace and if so, how will the NCSC deal with them?
“ Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. I’m not going to go into specifics on operational details or defences.”
Short but sweet from the Cybersecurity minister. There is clearly a grave threat which can be posed to not only our cyberspace but our national interests as a whole. The National Cyber Security Centre is the right tool for the job, now we just have to see if the tool is the right quality for the job.
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