National Cyber Security Centre


National Cyber Security Centre

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is an organisation of the United Kingdom Government that provides advice and support for the public and private sector in how to avoid computer security threats. Based in London, it became operational in October 2016, and its parent organisation is GCHQ.

The NCSC absorbed and replaced CESG (the information security arm of GCHQ), the Centre for Cyber Assessment (CCA), Computer Emergency Response Team UK (CERT UK) and the cyber-related responsibilities of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). It built on earlier efforts of these organisations and the Cabinet Office to provide guidance on Information Assurance to the UK's wider private sector, such as the "10 Steps" guidance released in January 2015. In pre-launch announcements, the UK government stated that the NCSC would first work with the Bank of England to advise financial institutions on how to bolster online defences.

The centre was first announced in November 2015 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. The existing Director General Cyber of GCHQ, Ciaran Martin, leads the new centre, and GCHQ's current Technical Director of Cyber Security, Dr Ian Levy, assumed the same role at the NCSC. A detailed paper on the creation of the NCSC, including a description of its structure and future challenges, written by the then Director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, who is widely credited with establishing the centre, was published by the Royal United Services Institute in February 2019.

The centre was dedicated by the Queen on 14 February 2017. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced an investment of £1.9 billion and an initiative to embed 100 people from industry into the NCSC on secondment.

In April 2016, the Ministry of Defence announced that a Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) "to protect the MOD's cyberspace from malicious actors" with a budget of over £40 million will contribute to this initiative. It is located at MoD Corsham.

In October 2017, technical director Ian Levy was targeted by email prankster James Linton with a fake industry event, however Levy correctly identified the unexpected headers and worked with him to put out a security blog about the incident.