I was heartened and reassured by the feeling of growing confidence at this year’s CYBERUK in the heart of Manchester last week.
The lively buzz of conversation around the main hall, the thought-provoking presentations in every track, the keynotes and panels, the cyber games… Everywhere you looked there were new ideas being discussed, old problems being tackled and partnerships being forged. The UK cyber security community has become just that, a group of people working together for a common goal: the security and prosperity of our country.
All this is just as well because, as the talks in our Vulnerabilities Track clearly demonstrated, cyber threats continue to proliferate. We will need to make use of every resource if we’re going to match and overtake the pace at which our adversaries are evolving. That means, naturally, that we need to tap the resources of our very diverse nation. I’m glad to say that the diversity pledges we’ve seen at the conference this year promise a future where we draw on the strengths of our people, regardless of their appearance or beliefs but instead purely by ability.
That confidence I mentioned earlier is tempered by a healthy dose of pragmatism. We understand there’s much still to do in the field of cyber security but we’ve rolled our sleeves up and we’re getting on with it. Director GCHQ Jeremy Fleming’s announcement at the event, that we are taking the fight to the terrorists who use the internet to propagate their agenda, is powerful evidence of this.
Meanwhile, the tracks at this year's event show that we’re busy refining our concepts, developing our expertise, and bringing clarity to our discipline.
Whole System Security emphasised the need to take a holistic approach to security, bringing in expertise from other disciplines, learning through a diversity of experience. Busting myths and bringing the domestic Internet of Things into focus, the Mitigations Track gave us all something to think about.
Detect and defend, meanwhile, delivered some valuable insights into how we can catch and mitigate real-world cyber attacks though effective monitoring. This track also examined high profile incidents such as WannaCry and NotPetya, and looked to the future, predicting the continued rise of such things as crypto-jacking and ‘cyber crime as a service’.
Due to the constant stream of worrying data breaches and other incidents, people are becoming more and more aware of just how important cyber security is. You can’t have privacy without security. Everyone at CYBERUK: delegates, sponsors, exhibitors and NCSC staff are all working hard to give us a world where security, privacy and prosperity are possible. And for that, as well as a fantastic conference in Manchester, I thank you.
Ciaran Martin, CEO NCSC