Skip to main content

NCSC claims major success in blocking UK cyber-attacks

The government's national cyber security agency has revealed it blocked millions of attacks against UK targets during the last 12 months.

Marking one year on from the launch of the NCSC's Active Cyber Defence (ACD) initiative (opens in new tab), the organisation has documented the extent of the threats facing the country.

In a report documenting the first twelve months of the ACD, the NCSC noted that the UK's share of total global phishing attacks has decreased from 5.3 per cent in June 2016 to 3.1 per cent in November 2017, with 121,479 phishing sites hosted in the UK removed.

Elsewhere, the ACD was shown to have helped identify more than 120,000 fake websites to be taken down, and an average of 4.5 million malicious emails blocked from reaching users every month.

Overall, the ACD was able to block 54 million malicious online attacks, as it lived up to its goal of being part of a “great British firewall” designed to stop cyber criminals targeting the public.

“Through the National Cyber Security Centre, the UK has taken a unique approach that is bold and interventionalist, aiming to make the UK an unattractive target to criminals or nation states," said Dr Ian Levy, technical director of the NCSC.

“The ACD programme intends to increase our cyber adversaries’ risk and reduces their return on investment to protect the majority of people in the UK from cyber attacks.

“The results we have published today are positive, but there is a lot more work to be done. The successes we have had in our first year will cause attackers to change their behaviour and we will need to adapt.

“Our measures seem to already be having a great security benefit - we now need to incentivise others to do similar things to scale up the benefits to best protect the UK from commodity cyber attacks in a measurable way.”

“Cyber-attacks are a critical threat to the lifeblood of any business, and with news of a breach or an attack making headlines almost on a daily basis, it has certainly heightened awareness around the issue. Whilst this report from the NCSC highlights a significant and promising effort in the crackdown against cyber-crime, more still needs to be done," said Bryan Campbell, senior security researcher at Fujitsu UK & Ireland.

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.