On 19 November 2020, the UK Prime Minister announced the launch of the long-awaited National Cyber Force.
During his statement announcing details of the Integrated Review, he said:
“I can announce that we have established a National Cyber Force, combining our intelligence agencies and service personnel, which is already operating in cyberspace against terrorism, organised crime and hostile state activity.”
The National Cyber Force will conduct offensive operations as cyberspace increasingly becomes another dimension in defence and warfare.
Cyber Force made public
Cyber Force has been up and running since April, but it was formally made public by Mr Johnson on 19 November.
The announcement of the launch comes after the National Cyber Security Centre said that cyber threats have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cyber security organisation said in its fourth Annual Review that:
“It is vital that cyber security remains a priority. It will help us to stay ahead of changing technologies, seize the opportunities for the UK as an independent country outside the European Union, and harness cyber’s full potential to help drive economic recovery.”
What will Cyber Force do?
As mentioned above, the National Cyber Force will be prepared to combat high-end military attacks as well as day-to-day wider threats.
The team behind the National Cyber Force aim to degrade, disrupt, and even destroy communications systems used by people posing a threat to the UK.
According to BBC News “this might involve interfering with a suspect’s mobile phone to prevent them communicating with their contacts.”
Ultimately the organisation has been introduced to prevent a threat like 2017’s WannaCry attack.
The WannaCry cyber attack in May 2017, which cost the NHS £92 million and 19,000 appointment cancellations, took down parts of the health service and other organisations by scrambling their data.
Are you committed to Cyber Security?
The government’s ongoing investment into cyber security underlines the fact that public sector suppliers must take their cyber security strategy seriously.
To help suppliers stay secure, the UK government launched the Cyber Essentials certification which helps organisations consider their cyber security measures.
The five key controls help organisations strengthen their protection against the most common cyber security attacks, and they are relatively simple to implement.
If your organisation wants to demonstrate that it is adequately protecting customers’ data and sensitive information, as well as taking issues of cyber security seriously, certification should be on your priority list.