GCHQ Assembles Cyber Attack Response Squadron


Intelligence agency bets on the private sector to lend a helping hand to those hit by attacks

The information assurance arm of GCHQ, CESG, today announced the Cyber Incident Response scheme, which will recruit private companies to offer advice on cyber attacks.

The first batch of recruits includes BAE Systems Detica, Cassidian, Context Information Security and Mandiant, who will all now offer assistance to those who have suffered a “cyber security incident” and provide “response services”, CESG said. The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) is also helping coordinate the initiative.

GCHQ betting on private sector assistance

Chloe Smith“The growing cyber threat makes it inevitable that some attacks will get through either where basic security is not implemented, or when an organisation is targeted by a highly capable attacker,” said Chloe Smith, minister for cyber security, who recently talked up the government’s willingness to involve private sector more in national security in an exclusive interview with TechWeekEurope.

“Together, GCHQ, CPNI, the incident response industry, and victims of cyber attack – can improve the cyber security of the UK; that is good for security, good for business and good for the UK’s prosperity.”

Alex Church, technical director at Context, said the Cyber Incident Response scheme marked “a very positive move by CESG/CPNI”.

“Organisations notified of attacks or those interested in getting advice about detection and mitigation will now have a clear pointer to specialist help with the level of trust and quality-assurance delivered by the scheme,” Church added.

GCHQ and the Cabinet Office have been talking up the need for greater collaboration across public and private sectors in recent months, stemming back to the creation of the first UK Cyber Security Strategy, released in November 2011.

Earlier this year, the government launched the ‘10 Steps to Cyber Security’ document, designed to assist organisations in preparing for attacks. Government guidance on security can be found on the Department for Business Innovation and Skills website here.

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