New U.K. Cybersecurity Agency Building National Fire Moat

Will Turner

China has its Great Firewall. The U.K. may soon have its virtual Great Fire Moat surrounding the island nation.

The U.K. intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), plans to build an automated defense tool that will act as a national firewall to block malicious websites and e-mails. GCHQ would provide the automated defenses by creating a national domain name system, according to The Telegraph. 

It’s unclear whether a government agency or internet service providers would provide the filtering, but the GCHQ is working with ISPs such as TalkTalk, BT and Virgin Media to filter websites that download malware on computers.

The tool is being developed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which will be the U.K’s first cybersecurity-dedicated unit once it opens in October.

News of any projects coming out of NCSC may be welcome news for the U.K. at the moment. The U.K.’s National Audit Office (NAO) released a report Sept. 14 criticizing the government’s cybersecurity approach, saying there are “too many bodies” with “overlapping responsibilities.” The report found that of 8,995 data breaches recorded by the 17 largest government agencies, only 14 were reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The NAO praised the government’s decision to set up the NCSC, and encouraged the NCSC to “streamline central government processes for dealing with information incidents in cyberspace.”

The NCSC will bring together experts from the MI5 (the U.K.’s domestic security service), GCHQ, law enforcement and private companies.

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