National Cyber Security Centre
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Ireland and UK partnership key in countering cyber threats

NCSC CEO, Lindy Cameron, will speak later today about the importance of collaboration between Ireland and the UK.

The head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre will today highlight the importance of continued collaboration between Ireland and the UK to protect shared interests and counter threats in cyberspace.

Speaking virtually to an audience at the influential Institute of International & European Affairs (IIEA) in Dublin later today (Friday), Lindy Cameron will describe the Ireland-UK relationship as a “source of great strength”.

Lindy Cameron, CEO of the NCSC – which is part of GCHQ – will depict the partnership as crucial in “combatting our shared threats”, highlighting the risks posed by established states that seek to do both nations harm through cyber attacks.

She will discuss how critical national infrastructure that is shared between Ireland and Northern Ireland, such as the rail link between Belfast and Dublin, present attractive targets for cyber criminals and states:

“The governments of both UK and Ireland have been clear that they will not tolerate malicious cyber activity, and we have and will publicly call out state-level attacks.

“State sponsored cyber activity represents one of the most malicious strategic threats to the national interests in both the UK and Ireland. It is hugely important. Tracking and defending the UK from our most sophisticated adversaries represents much of our core business, usually working to support victims behind the scenes.

“State actors are a reality in cyberspace. Four nation states – China, Russia, North Korea and Iran – have been a constant presence in recent years. And as I’ve said before, we face a determined, aggressive Russia, seeking traditional political advantage by new, high-tech means.” 

Turning to the recent ransomware attack on the Irish Health Executive (HSE), she will praise the Irish government’s response and its “strong action” of refusing to pay the ransom:

“On May 14, the Irish Health Executive suffered a ransomware attack that caused extensive disruption to Irish hospitals and patients - and some stolen patient data was published online. The government was quite rightly clear that – even by criminal standards – this had crossed a line.  

“I would like to praise the Irish response not to pay the ransom. Cyber criminals are out to make money – the more times a method is successful, the more times it will be used.”  

“And it’s important that we do all we can to ensure this is not a criminal model that yields returns. The government’s strong action of refusing to pay will likely deter ransomware operators from further attacks on health sector organisations – in Ireland or elsewhere.”

Lindy Cameron will also say that the cyber criminals likely voluntarily handed over the decryption key several days after the attack as a “public relations move to lessen criticism”.

More broadly, she will emphasise the importance of relationships across the global cyber community, which includes collaboration between all four nations of the UK sharing information and threat assessments with international partners, such as Ireland:

“The UK cannot do this alone – with our allies and close partners across the world, we will take collective action against the threat, and work to a shared vision for the future.

“We warmly welcome Ireland’s presence on the UN Security Council and look forward to working together on our shared foreign security priorities.

“Ireland will assume the Security Council Presidency in September and we have every confidence you will lead with a commitment to peacekeeping and climate security, in line with both the Taoiseach and our own Prime Minister’s priorities.”

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