Private sector must join battle against cyber-attacks, says Hammond

Hacking attacks on the government and businesses are increasing in their frequency, severity and sophistication, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has said.

In advance of the formal opening of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Hammond said companies needed to sharpen their approach as the threat of hacking attacks “increases and intensifies”.

He said the new centre has responded to 188 attacks in the first three months of its existence, as the government announced a plan to train 100 people seconded from business at the centre led by GCHQ, one of the intelligence agencies.

“We will invite business to second up to 100 employees to come and work in the NCSC – allowing us to draw on the best and the brightest in industry – to test and challenge the government’s thinking,” he said.

“And for these people to then return to the private sector and draw on their experience at NCSC to drive change within industry. Because the government cannot protect businesses and the general public from the risks of cyber-attack.”

The announcement was made as a survey of more than 19,000 cybersecurity professionals, by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, revealed the world will face a shortfall of 1.8 million experts in the field by 2022 to keep up with the pace of attacks. It also said this was an increase of 20% on the five-year projection made in 2015 by the same survey.

Over the weekend, Ciaran Martin, head of the…

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