Defending UK ‘digital homeland’ from cyber attack as important as spying and counter terrorism, says new GCHQ director

9 Oct

Mr Fleming joined GCHQ in April after a career at the Security Service, MI5.

The Government last year launched the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a high-profile offshoot from GCHQ drawing on the agency’s expertise to protect the nation’s online life.

Mr Fleming said his staff were “protecting the nation from those who want to use the internet to cause harm”.

“We all derive great benefit from the ease and speed of connecting across the planet: access to knowledge, reduced costs of communication and commerce, and from the additional security provided by default encryption.

“It’s also true to say that hostile states, terrorists and criminals use the same features to undermine our national security, attack our interests and, increasingly, to commit crime.”

In its first year, the NCSC tackled 600 significant cyber attacks on bodies ranging from key national institutions to large and small businesses.

The WannaCry outbreak affected dozens of NS trusts, while in June email accounts were targeted in an attack on parliamentary networks.

GCHQ celebrates its centenary in 2019, but the work of its technical experts, engineers, analysts, translators and codebreakers has been kept secret throughout its history.

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