NCSC CEO receives international award for cyber security leadership

Photo shows Ciaran Martin receiving his award from Tom Billington
NCSC Ciaran Martin and Tom Billington

Ciaran Martin, Chief Executive of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has received The International Cyber Security Leadership Award at the Billington Cyber Security Summit in Washington DC.

The annual summit, held at the Washington Convention Centre, brings together  international experts in cyber security.

Before receiving the award, Mr Martin delivered a speech in which he reflected on the journey taken by the NCSC, established as part of GCHQ in 2016, since he last spoke at the summit shortly before the NCSC formally came into existence.

He reflected on the last three years of NCSC:

“Here’s how it looks from the perspective of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre. We benefit hugely from being part of GCHQ, the UK’s NSA equivalent.

“Here’s what we find. We face a determined, aggressive Russia, seeking traditional political advantage by new, high-tech means.

“We live in a business and corporate environment where Chinese cyber attacks on our commercial interests is now something our companies treat as business as usual.

“And, while we welcome mutually beneficial investment from China’s burgeoning tech sector, we are increasingly mindful of those areas of technology where we and our allies need to make sure we have our own, trusted capabilities.

“We face intrusions from Iran, and attempts to steal money from North Korea. Both nations being prepared to launch aggression digitally in a way they never would dare physically.

“These so-called “big four” – the main nation state threats – have been a constant over the past few years.

“We know more about them now than we did then. And that helps us fight back.”

But he also highlighted major concerns about  more subtle, risks.

“We all know more about the grave threat posed by high volume, low sophistication, rampant, ubiquitous, transnational cyber crime.

“This for me is a threat we risk underestimating.

“These are the people who just attack wherever they think there’s money to be made.

“They are the people who rarely, if ever, attack anything of strategic national significance.

But, cumulatively, their attacks amount to a direct and real challenge to having a thriving digital economy that commands public confidence.”