Far too many cyber attacks on the UK are getting through - and 'they are doing a lot of damage'
That’s a huge problem, as the UK depends so much on the digital economy, at one eighth of total GDP, the biggest in the G20 group of the largest global economies.
The admission is timely, as today the National Audit Office has issued a critical report into how much work government needs to do to better coordinate the work needed to protect government information.
But the Government is stepping up to the challenge, and is moving to an active cyber defence position to help, according to Ciaran Martin, the new head of the National Cyber Security Centre.
The promise came in Martin’s first public comments as the chief executive of the centre, which is formally opening for business next month out of a London base, as part of an attempt to make it somewhat independent of GCHQ.
Speaking at a US event this week, Martin emphasised how retaining public confidence in online transactions was a priority for his team - just as important as protecting national security.
Universal Credit challenge
One huge problem will be ensuring that Universal Credit is a safe system to citizens, he added - which will by itself account for a massive 7% of all UK GDP and which will be 90% digital in terms of day-to-day operations.
Technology to automate defences against relatively unsophisticated but high-volume cyber-attacks will be central to such plans, part of the active cyber-defence stance.
Martin says this is important, as the nature of cyber attacks has taken on a more "activist and automated” nature, he added.
Another aspect of the centre’s vision for improved national cyber defence include working on "core national defensive cyber-capabilities" to tackle high end threats, according to a BBC report on his speech.