At CyberUK earlier this year, along with colleagues in DCMS, we ran a Dragons' Den competition, where twelve innovative small businesses pitched their solutions to some of the latest cyber security challenges. I was personally really pleased with the overall quality of the pitches, even if it did make picking a winner particularly tricky!
I was delighted to welcome representatives from the winning company, iProov, along with members of the three 'notable mentions' (RedSift, Drie Secure, and Check Recipient) to our headquarters at Nova South. We didn't have a set prize for the companies that did well in the Dragons' Den - our plan is to work with each of them so we can use our skills and connections to help them refine and improve what they're doing.
We gave the attendees more information on what we're currently doing in our Active Cyber Defence initiative and our Secure by Default programme of work, and shared our perspective on some of the biggest cyber security challenges across the UK public sector. Our Cyber Assessments team also joined us and provided an update on the threat landscape in the UK.
After this we split into individual sessions with our various teams to explore in more detail how we can collaborate. We think that iProov has great potential to support our 'getting rid of passwords' initiative, and we want to encourage the uptake of biometrics wherever it makes sense.
We are also keen to explore how the offerings from the other companies can support our Active Cyber Defence programme (such as making adoption of DMARC easier for small organisations) or making the risks from cloud services easier to understand. Our Socio-Technical Security Researchers are also interested in Check Recipient's approach of gently alerting users when they might be accidentally making a security mistake, such as misaddressing an email.
More broadly, the NCSC is keen to support innovation, and help companies and individuals who have interesting ideas that could solve emerging cyber security problems. Last week, in collaboration with Wayra, we launched the second iteration of our cyber incubator. We also have a number of research collaboration positions available under our Industry 100 scheme.
Our engagement with the winning companies from the Dragons' Den doesn't stop here though. We will be keeping in touch with them and have some pieces of research and a technical review already planned.