Cyber defence programme prevented millions of cyber attacks, claims NCSC

Cyber defence programme prevented millions of cyber attacks, claims NCSC

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has claimed it has identified and stopped millions of online commodity attacks against the UK, thanks to recent initiatives.

It carried out the initiatives through its Active Cyber Defence (ACD) programme, which has now saved the country from a mass of attacks. The agency has published a summary named ‘Active Cyber Defence – One Year On’ compiled by its technical director Ian Levy, listing out its achievements of tackling cyber crime.

As part of the National Cyber Security Strategy, NCSC had launched Web Check, DMARC, Public Sector DNS and a takedown service to enhance the basic cyber security of citizens as part of ACD.

The four programmes are claimed by the agency to boost defence against online threats by eliminating phishing attacks, blocking fake emails and preventing public sector systems moving onto harmful servers. Overall, more than a million security scans and seven million security tests were done on public sector websites, claimed NCSC.

NCSC has revealed that since the launch of the ACD, from June 2016 to November 2017, UK’s share of visible global phishing attacks had come down from 5.3% to 3.1%.

In the reported period, as many as 121,479 phishing sites that were hosted in the UK have been taken down along with 18,067 hosted elsewhere, which were all spoofing the UK government. The availability times for sites imitating government brands came down to 10 hours from 42 hours, claimed the NCSC report.

Furthermore, the report boasts of a drastic decline in scam emails originating from fake ‘@gov.uk’ accounts to the tune of 515,658 emails rejected in the year.

Levy said: “The results we have published today are positive, but there is a lot more work to be done. The successes we have had in our first year will cause attackers to change their behaviour and we will need to adapt.

“Our measures seem to already be having a great security benefit – we now need to incentivise others to do similar things to scale up the benefits to best protect the UK from commodity cyber attacks in a measurable way.”

The report also revealed an average of 4.5 million malicious emails a month prevented from reaching users with 30.3 million such emails blocked in the month of June 2017.

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BT Security CEO Mark Hughes said: “The Government’s Active Cyber Defence strategy will make it increasingly difficult for cyber criminals to carry out relatively unsophisticated attacks, which account for roughly 80 percent of all cybercrime.

“BT is supporting its strategy in a number of crucial ways, including strengthening email security, internet and signalling protocols and by blocking tens of millions of malicious malware infections every week.”