In the 1969 film, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” James Bond battles the evil group SPECTRE from unleashing a deadly virus. Fast forward few decades, and many of Bond villains have become hackers, and their weapons of choice are digital, not biological, nuclear or solar.
In real life, hackers are becoming serious threats. In 2016, U.K.’s major telecommunications company TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc was hacked by a group of teenagers. In January, Lloyds Banking Group Plc was hit by a cyberattack that disrupted online services. Cybersecurity professionals previously told Bloomberg BNA that Brexit may significantly increase U.K. companies’ exposure to cybercrime and companies must keep their focus on maintaining their cybersecurity defense strategies. The U.K. government has noticed the problem, and is addressing them.
On Feb. 14, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which was set up to protect “critical services” from cyberattacks, manage cybersecurity incidents and improve the underlying security of U.K.’s internet. It seeks to “help make the U.K. the safest place to live and do business online,” according to the NCSC’s website.
The NCSC may have been officially launched by the Queen in 2017, but it has been operational since October 2016. The NCSC isn’t the only way that the U.K. government is improving its cybersecurity capabilities. The U.K.’s intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), said it will build tool to act as a national firewall to block malicious websites and e-mails. The tools is being developed by the NCSC, which will bring cybersecurity professionals from MI5, U.K.’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency.
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