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NCSC CEO warns against cyber complacency

In her first speech as chief executive of the new National Cyber Security Centre, Lindy Cameron has paid tribute to the bold decision to create a public-facing cyber security organisation within GCHQ.

Speaking virtually at Queen’s University, Belfast, Cameron outlined why she thinks all of the UK has a role to play in making the UK the safest place to live and do business online. She suggested that basic cyber hygiene is as important a life skill as knowing how to wire a plug - and that digital literacy is as non-negotiable in boardrooms as financial literacy.

Cameron said: “The cyber security landscape we see now in the UK reflects huge progress and relative strength – but it is not a position we can be complacent about. Cyber security is still not taken as seriously as it should be, and simply is not embedded in UK boardrooms.

“The pace of change is no excuse – in boardrooms, digital literacy is as non-negotiable as financial or legal literacy. Our CEOs should be as close to their CISO as their Finance Director and General Counsel. And we want to help them to develop this knowledge, as we’re all too aware that cyber skills are not yet fundamental to our education – even though these are life skills like wiring a plug or changing a tyre as well as skills for the future digital economy.”

The NCSC’s CEO also cited examples like recent ransomware cases and the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange compromises as showing the real danger the UK faces – and how she envisions the NCSC helping to further increase the UK’s cyber resilience.

Cameron pinpointed her key priorities for the NCSC, including that: critical infrastructure is made as hard a target as possible for those that might seek to disrupt it; the ever-increasing amounts of data generated and processed are properly protected – and privacy is appropriately managed; the next generation of commodity technologies don’t repeat the security mistakes of the past; and future generations are better equipped to deal with this complexity than any of their predecessors.

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