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NCSC says almost every council signed to Web Check


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Every local authority in England, Scotland and Wales and most in Northern Ireland are now signed up to the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) Web Check service, it has said in its annual review.

It also reports that more than 200 public sector organisations across the UK are using its Protective Domain Name System (DNS), which has now blocked attempts to access over 30 million malicious websites.

The services are part of the NCSC’s Active Cyber Defence portfolio, which is aimed at protecting the UK from high volume commodity attacks.

Web Check enables public sector organisations to scan their websites for common vulnerabilities, generating a report to show what needs fixing. The Protective DNS blocks users within public bodies from accessing malicious sites.

Figures in the review show that Web Check had identified 2,372 urgent findings that had been fixed, and the Protective DNS had blocked an average of 10,975 unique malicious domains per month, with the figure steadily rising.

Among the other achievements highlighted in the report are that the availability time for websites spoofing government brands was reduced from a median average of 42 hours in 2016 to 10 hours this year, and that the UK share of global phishing attacks dropped from 5.3% in June 2016 to 2.4% in July 2018.

National threat

On a broader front, the review says the NCSC has dealt with more than 1,000 cyber security incidents in the two years since it was created, and it believes the majority came from within nation states in some way hostile to the UK with governments often providing backing.

It predicts there will be more to come and that its capabilities will be tested in the future.

Writing the foreword to the review, Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington says: “The future remains stubbornly difficult to predict. But we do know that the next 12 months will continue to challenge and surprise us.

“We have built solid foundations to ensure that we can remain resilient in an ever changing world. Key to our success will be how we take on longer term, strategic challenges, whether that is affecting behaviour change, developing the right skills set among UK professionals, or deepening our collaborative partnerships in the UK and internationally.”

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