The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has confirmed that it has dealt with 658 cyber attacks between the 1st September 2018 and 31st August 2019.
Since its formation in 2016, the total number of thwarted attacks against UK targets was 1,800 with a majority of those coming from malicious state actors.
According to the NCSC’s annual review 2019, the UK government received the most support from the NCSC’s Incident Management team, followed by academic institutions and technology firms, as well as managed service providers and the health and transport sector.
The review discussed how NCSC took down 177,335 phishing URLs over the last year, to which 62.4% were removed within 24 hours. Overall, an overwhelming 98% of phishing URLs that were discovered to be malicious were successfully taken down.
“We’ve made great progress on making the UK safer since launching our world-leading £1.9 billion cyber security strategy in 2015,” said Minister for the Cabinet Office Oliver Dowden.
“Establishing the NCSC was a key part of this and has played a central role in tackling online threats posed by criminals, hacktivists and hostile nation states.”
The Active Cyber defence (ACD) is an initiative by the NCSC which tackles cyber attacks, empowers businesses and organisations, and improve national resilience.
The report said: “The ultimate goal for Active Cyber Defence is for there to be fewer cyber attacks in the world, causing less harm,” the report said. “It represents a significant step-change in the country’s approach to cyber security, because of its voluntary, non-regulatory, non-statutory approach delivered in partnership with central government, local government and business.”
Some of the programmes within the ACD include; Web Check, Protective DNS (PDNS), Takedown Service and Mail Check.
The report revealed that in 2016, HMRC was the 16th most phishing brand globally. Subsequently due to ACD services and HRMC measures, in September 2019 HMRC’s ranking dropped to 126th.
Dr. Ian Levy, Technical Director, NCSC commented: “The NCSC is not the only organisation with good ideas, and the UK is not the only country connected to the internet. We welcome partnerships with people and organisations who wish to contribute to the Active Cyber Defence service ecosystem, analysis of the data, contributing data or infrastructure to help it make better inferences. We believe that evidence-based cyber security policy – driven by evidence and data rather than hyperbole and fear – is the way forward.”
Introducing the Annual Review 2019, Ciaran Martin, Chief Executive, NCSC commented:
“There certainly is a lot to be proud of – for example, thanks to the innovation of our technical experts, we have been able to increase the number of threat indicators we share by tenfold to more than 1,000 per month, and the speed we process them from days to seconds.
“There is of course much work to do – as shown by the 658 incidents we supported this year. For the first time ever, in this review, these incidents are broken down into the most affected sectors. We believe that being transparent helps to target the interventions we need to help those who are most vulnerable.”
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