Are we safe from cyber attacks after Brexit?

Ciaran Martin, CEO of NCSC, speaking at CyberUK

Ciaran Martin, CEO of NCSC, speaking at CyberUK - Credit: Archant

Will our fight against cyber attacks be weakened if Britain leaves the EU? Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, looks to the future

Working with the EU to challenge cyber threats and maintain security will not change post-Brexit, says Britain's cyber chief Ciaran Martin.

CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre - part of GCHQ in Cheltenham - Mr Martin made the assurances at the CyberSec conference in Brussels.

He said the UK's commitment to working with its European partners was "unshakeable" and said whatever the relationship between Britain and the EU going forward, the Government was clear about its support for European security.

"It is objectively true that nearly all of the functions of the UK's National Cyber Security Centre fall outside the scope of EU competence," he told delegates.

"It follows that our enhanced cooperation with European partners, and the EU as a whole, in cyber security over recent years is not automatically affected by the UK's changing relationship with the EU.

"Pretty much everything we do now to help European partners, and what you do to help us, on cyber security can, should, and I am confident will continue."

He said over the past few years, the UK had shared classified and other threat data with the majority of member states and led the way in the development of standards and incident response.

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"As the next phase of the UK's relationship with the rest of Europe takes shape, we will want to take these partnerships further and to develop new ones," said Mr Martin.

"I'm proud of the increasing frequency with which I see my European counterparts and the deepening friendships we have nurtured, the boundaries we are removing and the ground we are breaking. The protection of our shared values of freedom, democracy and prosperity, all underpinned by the rule of law, is what we strive for."

He went on to talk about the work the organisation is doing with the new 5G network, and how the NCSC is applying "objective rigour" to solve complex technical issues. And he called for higher standards of cyber security across the entire telecommunications sector along with sustainable diversity in the supplier market to combat threats coming from regimes across the world.

The NCSC was launched in October 2016 and has dealt with 1,200 significant cyber security incidents. Last year, it blocked 11,000 unique malicious domains every month and, over the year, 54 million malicious connections.

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