The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was finally officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen yesterday (February 14th).
Working out of a new building in London’s Victoria, the aim of the Centre is nothing less making the the United Kingdom “the safest place to live and do business online”.
The security and signals service work that lies behind the formal opening of the resource goes back just under a century, GCHQ, the overall parent body of the Centre, points out – to the setting up of the then ‘Government Code and Cypher School’ in 1919, while the “spirit” of Colossus and the code-cracking of World War II’s Bletchley Park is also being invoked.
“This morning we begin a new chapter in nearly 100 years of GCHQ’s service to the country,” GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan told an invited VIP audience at the event, including Her Majesty, The Duke of Edinburgh and Chancellor Philip Hammond.
“In stepping up to this challenge, we in GCHQ know that this is as great a task as any we have met before.
“But I have confidence that the brilliance, technical innovation, and whole-hearted commitment of Bletchley Park endure today in the men and women of GCHQ, MI5 and the Government, industry and international partners who are joined together in this great enterprise.”
Hannigan’s themes were then taken up by the actual head of the new Centre, NCSC Chief Executive Ciaran Martin.
“We’re here to build a lasting national asset, supporting the No1 digital economy in the world. We want to write the next amazing chapter in the history of GCHQ, a world class organisation,” he promised.
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“Today, London becomes a key global player in the fight against the world’s biggest and fastest growing threat – and it is the perfect location for the National Cyber Security Centre. It was consciously chosen as the location for our operational nerve centre, as it is the perfect place to coordinate our cyber security and manage incidents across the UK.”
The Centre is the most visible sign of the government’s two billion pound commitment to improving the country’s electronic defences, across both the private and public sectors.
The NCSC said yesterday it has already tackled 188 such attacks in the past three months alone.
The NCSC was set up to help protect the country’s critical services from cyber attacks, managing major incidents and improve the underlying security of the nation’s use of the Internet through technological improvement and advice to citizens and organisations.
The NCSC brings together and replaces CESG (the information security arm of GCHQ), the Centre for Cyber Assessment (CCA), Computer Emergency Response Team UK (CERT UK) and the cyber-related responsibilities of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).