British Cyber Security At Risk From Russia

Speaking the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) CyberUK conference, Britain's cyber security Minister Steve Barclay said that Russia poses a significant threat to the UK. A “whole of society” approach to cyber security is needed to protect the UK amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Minister said. 

According to Barclay, one major Russian-based cyber crime group was behind a failed ransomware attempt to steal personal data to exchange it for a ransom payment, with 53 victim known reports in the past year. 

“It is vital that we adopt a ‘whole of society’ approach to cyber security... It’s a job for us all. Preserving our core values of democracy and free speech while keeping people safe online, as we are doing through our Online Safety Bill, depends on the UK having robust cyber defences." 

“We will achieve these by harnessing our collective strengths and acting as one. It is for this reason that our National Cyber Strategy treats the cyber domain no longer as a niche concern simply for the IT team, but as a wide-ranging grand initiative... “Responsible, durable, effective cyber power cannot be achieved by government alone; we want to see industry, universities, schools and individual citizens getting involved.” Barclay said.

NCSC chief executive Lindy Cameron echoed the Minister, saying it was vital for cyber security experts to “empower everyone” and to “mobilise every individual to stand up for the collective safety of our community”.
“We need to help people develop that instinct for spotting digital duplicity,” she said. “The threats are not going away – it will change but it won’t go away – and we must be savvy enough to respond to those changes... So we need to help people help themselves. That way we can build a well-prepared, resilient nation that sees the digital world as exciting, vibrant and rewarding, not scary, confusing and dull.”

Mr Barclay added that the “greatest cyber crime threat to the UK” will come from ransomware attacks – a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files... While attempted attacks are concerning, we can draw positives. Our controls quickly spotted them. And in deploying rapid incident responses, we cull useful evidence to share with the wider sector, helping mitigate against similar-style attacks.

Coinciding with the Minister's speech, the Five Eyes intelligence partners in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand issued a joint advisory to IT service providers and their customers with guidance on how to protect themselves and their supply chains in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The advisory encourages firms to adopt multi-factor authentication, an added layer of log-in security, and ensure that all software and operating systems were up-to-date as well as prioritising the patching of any known vulnerabilities. The advisory comes after GCHQ spy agency Chief Sir Jeremy Fleming said that that the current “serious global economic situation” means “the need to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online is ever more relevant”.

The GCHQ Director said the UK must continue to focus on cyber criminals and other bad actors who are constantly adapting their tactics in an effort to make money through illegal activities. Fleming also said the National Cyber Force (NCF), a partnership between GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence, has been working to “disrupt” cyber crime and has done so on an “immense scale”. 

He also warned the UK and other countries who are standing with Ukraine against Russia’s ongoing invasion must continue to boost their own cyber security capabilities. He also said GCHQ has seen indications that “Russia’s cyber operatives continue to look for targets in countries which oppose their actions”.

Independent:     Yahoo:     The National:     Quest Media:    PA News / Forres Gazette:    Standard:  

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