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‘Cyber Security is a Team Sport’ - CYBERUK 2021 begins

This morning, the National Centre for Cyber Security’s CEO, Lindy Cameron, kicked off the first ever virtual CYBERUK event, which is currently streaming across the world, enabling the conference to reach more people than ever before.

Ms. Cameron set the scene for the next two days’ activity, which will include keynotes and panel discussions with cyber experts from various countries and organisations, exploring the key issue that the COVID-19 pandemic has not just changed the way we work: the move to remote working and living has changed the cyber threat we face. And, as a result, the NCSC’s mission to make the UK the safest place to live and work online has become more important than ever. As we move through the pandemic, it is critical to ensure that we are building a resilient and prosperous UK together. As such, the conference’s overarching themes are Resilience, Technology and Threat.

Ms. Cameron then referenced the NCSC’s Active Cyber Defence programme report published yesterday (Monday 10 May), which highlighted resilience as being at the heart of cyber technology – indeed, the NCSC removed more than 700,000 online scams last year and the ACD stepped up to ensure the NHS was protected against attacks that sought to compromise the system.

Cyber security is a team sport, and the team just got bigger.’  Lindy Cameron, CEO NCSC

Despite considerable achievements, Ms. Cameron noted that there’s still much to do – we can’t just focus on today’s challenges, we need to focus on future ones too – such as helping Local Authorities to make the most of connected places technology; exploring quantum; seizing opportunities for innovation and industrial and international collaboration; and professionalizing the cyber sector. And by ensuring Government and Business are clear-eyed about the threats faced, the UK can rise to – and meet – these challenges.  

Director of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, then took the stage, continuing on the theme that ‘cyber security is more definitely a team sport’: at a time when cyber security has never been more essential to UK resilience, no one country can achieve resilience in isolation and it is critical that the UK works with partners across the

Mr. Fleming underlined the impact that the pandemic has had on our lives and the change it’s catalysed, with the pace of change accelerating, both in terms of the threats faced and our response. Cyber security underpins more and more of our lives – and data (the capture of which drives on our adversaries) has become the crown jewels that we must protect.

The environment we’re operating in is changing, and it’s increasingly apparent that the key technology we rely on won’t be shaped by the west – it’s moving east and, therefore, conflicts of interest are arising: and a strategic whole-of-nation approach is required to address this. And Mr. Fleming noted that there is no doubt the UK is facing a moment of reckoning, but he is optimistic about its response. We’re already a leading cyber power and we have a history of innovation which continues to shape the world: will be important to build on that in order to face up to the reckoning; and ‘double down on actions which have made the UK a responsible cyber power’.

The Director then highlighted his pride in the work that the world-leading NCSC is doing; and how it will continue to evolve to meet the cyber needs of the country as society increasingly interacts with technology, with the organisation’s COVID response clearly demonstrating the value it can add at national and international level.

Mr. Fleming closed his keynote by recognising that this is a critical moment for the cyber community to be gathering for this event. The UK is weathering storm of the pandemic but calmer waters are on the horizon, and we have a fundamental role in unblocking the technological, digital and cyber opportunities that are critical to our future. And the intention is that CYBERUK 2021 will help to inspire and energise the community for what’s ahead.


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