GCHQ Unveils Cyber Attack Response Schemes

GCHQ looks to come to the aid of businesses beleaguered by cyber attacks

Intelligence agency GCHQ has announced two incident response operations designed to protect critical national infrastructure from sophisticated cyber attacks.

Following pilots organised by CESG, the Information Security arm of GCHQ, and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), it was decided a two-pronged approach was best to ensure organisations have recourse when a serious attack hits.

GCHQ doughnutHelp from GCHQ

The first scheme, a “small and focused” Cyber Incident Response group, will look to respond to “sophisticated, targeted attacks against networks of national significance”.

It has drawn up a list of government assured, certified providers of response and clean-up services in the event of a cyber-attack, which companies can use when hackers hit.

Another scheme will focus on building standards around incident response. Industry, public sector and academia will be involved in building those standards. Not-for-profit body the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST) will lead that initiative.

“We know that UK organisations are confronted with cyber threats that are growing in number and sophistication,” said cyber security minister Chloe Smith.

“The best defence for organisations is to have processes and measures in place to prevent attacks getting through, but we also have to recognise that there will be times when attacks do penetrate our systems and organisations want to know who they can reliably turn to for help.”

The UK government has been ramping up its data sharing work in the cyber security space. In March, it launched the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP).

It previously announced a UK National CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) and a Cyber Reserve within the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

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