Intelligent CISO Issue 45 | Page 44

World-class cybersecurity , enabled by the expertise of the NCSC as part of GCHQ , continues to be vital to the UK ’ s safety and prosperity .
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for an increased number of cyber incidents thrust upon the healthcare sector , which had to be managed quickly and efficiently to protect against the vaccine rollout . The NCSC ’ s 2021 Annual Review highlights the work undertaken to protect the UK over the past 12 months .
he National Cyber


Security Centre ( NCSC ) provided unprecedented support over the last year to organisations , including those on the front line of the pandemic response and vaccine rollout , the organisation ’ s Annual Review revealed .
The NCSC , which is a part of GCHQ , expanded its online defence of the UK by managing an unprecedented 777 incidents over the last 12 months – up from 723 the previous year – with around 20 % of organisations supported linked to the health sector and vaccines .
The growth in the number of incidents handled by the NCSC last year is partially reflected in the organisation ’ s ongoing work to proactively identify threats through the work of its Threat Operations and Assessment teams .
The health sector and the vaccine rollout in particular was a major focus for the NCSC , with the organisation ’ s world-leading services protecting NHS , healthcare and vaccine supplier IT systems from malicious domains billions of times . Over the past 12 months , the NCSC also responded to a rise in ransomware attacks , and a range of services have been provided to businesses over the past year to help protect them from ransomware . These include the Early Warning Service alerting organisations to emerging threats through to cybersecurity advice for those working in education .
These efforts have come against a backdrop of responding to significant global incidents , including the attack on the SolarWinds IT management platform by Russia ’ s Foreign Intelligence Service – one of the most serious cyber intrusions of recent times – and a major ransomware attack on the American software firm , Kaseya .

World-class cybersecurity , enabled by the expertise of the NCSC as part of GCHQ , continues to be vital to the UK ’ s safety and prosperity .

Lindy Cameron , CEO of the NCSC , said : “ I ’ m proud of the way the NCSC has responded to what has been another hugely challenging year for the country as we all continue to navigate our way through the pandemic .
“ The support and expertise we have provided for stakeholders from government all the way through to the general public during the pandemic has been vital to keeping the country safe online . Undoubtedly there are challenges ahead , but the upcoming National Cyber Strategy combined with the continued engagement from businesses and the public provides a solid foundation for us to continue reducing the impact of online threats .”
In 2020 the NCSC surged its efforts towards protecting healthcare in the wake of the pandemic outbreak , and since then it has channelled further resources towards those involved in the rollout of the vaccine by providing the necessary intelligence and tools to respond to the threats they faced .
This included the extension of the organisation ’ s Protective Domain Name System ( PDNS ) service to over 1,000 additional organisations within the Health and Social Care sector to support vaccine development and
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