National Cyber Security Centre
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Businesses helped to keep home workers secure with NCSC cyber exercise

'Home and remote working' exercise has been added to the Exercise in a Box toolkit.

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  • The National Cyber Security Centre launches exercise to help small businesses test their cyber resilience while staff work remotely
  • ‘Home and Remote Working’ exercise will form part of a series in the highly successful Exercise in a Box toolkit
  • Measure is latest in a range of support NCSC has offered for home workers since the coronavirus outbreak

BUSINESS owners are being urged to help keep their home working staff safe from cyber attacks by testing their defences in a roleplay exercise devised by the NCSC.

The ‘Home and Remote Working’ exercise is the latest addition to the National Cyber Security Centre’s highly successful Exercise in a Box toolkit, which helps small and medium sized businesses carry out drills in preparation for actual cyber attacks.

Launched last year, the toolkit sets a range of realistic scenarios which organisations could face, allowing them to practise and refine their response to each.

The latest exercise – the tenth in the series - is focused on home and remote working, reflecting the fact that for many organisations this remains a hugely important part of their business.

Sarah Lyons, NCSC Deputy Director for Economy and Society Engagement, yesterday said:

“We know that businesses want to do all they can to keep themselves and their staff safe while home working continues, and using Exercise in a Box is an excellent way to do that.

“While cyber security can feel daunting, it doesn’t have to be, and the feedback we have had from our exercises is that they’re fun as well as informative.

“I would urge business leaders to treat Exercise in a Box in the same way they do their regular fire drills – doing so will help reduce the chances of falling victim to future cyber attacks.”

The exercise follows a range of products developed by the NCSC – which is a part of GCHQ – to support remote working during the coronavirus pandemic, including advice on working from home and securely setting up video conferencing.

The new ‘Home and Remote Working’ exercise is aimed at helping SMEs to reduce the risk of data compromise while employees are working remotely.

The exercise focuses on three key areas: how staff members can safely access networks, what services might be needed for secure employee collaboration, and what processes are in place to manage a cyber incident remotely.

Some of the most popular exercises include scenarios based around ransomware attacks, losing devices and a cyber attack simulator which safely imitates a threat actor targeting operations to test an organisation’s cyber resilience.

As part of the exercises, staff members are given prompts for discussion about the processes and technical knowledge needed to enhance their cyber security practices. At the end an evaluative summary is created, outlining next steps and pointing to NCSC guidance.

A spokesperson for Eventura, a managed services and business systems firm, yesterday said:

“Exercise in a Box is just like the monthly fire alarm test or evacuation drill, it’s part of the preparation for a real event and the best way to learn and improve on anything is by doing it.

“It’s a fantastic tool that’s free, well thought-out, easy-to-use and can help improve an organisation’s security posture – what’s not to love in that?”

Exercise in a Box is an evolving tool and since it was launched the NCSC has continued to work on the platform. It has recently been given a new refreshed look to make it even more intuitive for users and soon micro-exercises – ‘bite-sized’ exercises that focus on a specific topic – will be added.

You can sign up for Exercise in a Box or find out more about it on the NCSC’s website.

Notes to Editors

The UK government is fully committed to defending against cyber threats and set up the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) as part of GCHQ in 2016.

The NCSC is the UK’s lead technical authority on cyber security and offers unrivalled real-time threat analysis, defence against national cyber attacks and tailored advice to victims when incidents do happen.

The NCSC has published a variety of guidance aimed at organisations, on topics including:

The NCSC’s Active Cyber Defence programme last year took down 190,000 fraudulent sites and stopped 140,000 phishing attacks.


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