In a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, Ciaran Martin – CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre – highlighted the inevitability of a Category One cyberattack hitting the UK within the next two years. So far, the most serious incursion to affect Britain so far is been WannaCry. Despite causing major disruption to the NHS, it only registered as a C2. To merit C1 a cyber assault would need to seriously endanger national energy supplies, financial services, a General Election or pose a threat to human life.
Since NCSC opened its doors in October 2016, Britain has suffered 34 C2 attacks and 762 C3s. Unlike countries such as the US and France, Britain’s electoral system has not yet been disrupted – but the risk of this occurring may scupper the idea of introducing electronic voting.
As attack is often the best form of defence, a cyber offence is becoming a growing element in Britain’s security operations. The main threat of cyber espionage unsurprisingly comes from Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran. Unlike President Trump, Britain is not in favour of retaliating with nuclear weapons. As well as preventing attacks, Martin stresses the importance of damage limitation. He also calls for more females to enter the cybersecurity industry.