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Keeping you and your business secure online

PUBLISHED: 13:30 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:30 23 October 2018

c) scyther5 / Getty Images

c) scyther5 / Getty Images


Brian B, of the National Cyber Security Centre, discusses the importance of Government and industry working together, to reduce the impact of the cyber threat to the UK - and how accountancy firms can help

While GCHQ serves all of the UK, we are proud of our Cotwsolds roots. Most of our staff are based at our main headquarters in Cheltenham, popularly known as the ‘doughnut’ because of its unique shape. Our mission is simple – to make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

In 2016, the National Cyber Security Centre was created as part of GCHQ to deal with the growing threat of cyber attacks. We manage national cyber security incidents, carry out real-time threat analysis and provide tailored sectoral advice.

While we will lead the way, we can’t do this alone. Every citizen, business and organisation must play their part. Government can help provide some of the tools and information needed to manage cyber security risks. However, organisations and company boards are responsible for managing their cyber security risks and should ensure that their networks are protected and secure.

Today, there are more devices connected to the internet than there are people in the world. As we continue to depend on technology and embrace new developments, we’re becoming more exposed to possible cyber threats, both as businesses and as individuals.

So, what are the threats? For most organisations, potential risks are often from high-volume, untargeted attacks, which can be bought and launched with little technical know-how. More targeted and damaging attacks can be co-ordinated by hacker groups, who can operate in a highly sophisticated manner. They use both ‘commodity attacks’ (malicious software that can be purchased), as well as creating or adapting attacks themselves.

Large-scale attacks that cost little to launch and bring the biggest financial gain are an attractive proposition. Typically, these might involve sending out phishing emails to implant a virus, allowing criminals to steal your data or passwords, or it may encrypt your data, seeking a payment to unlock it - a ransomware attack.

With these types of attacks taking place, cyber security can seem daunting. But, by following our quick, easy and low-cost advice around protecting information and IT, you can protect yourself from the most common attacks.

Our Small Business Guide (ncsc.gov.uk/smallbusiness) provides examples of best practice that are applicable to both businesses and individuals.

While the steps can’t guarantee protection from all types of cyber attack, they can help significantly reduce the chances of your practice falling victim to cyber crime.

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