Government Moots Plans for ‘British Firewall’

GCHQ’s head of the new National Cyber Security Centre Ciaran Martin has shared his plans for a “flagship project” which could see the government build and manage a new firewall to defend the country from online threats.

Speaking at the Billington CyberSecurity Summit in Washington this week, the spy agency’s cybersecurity supremo claimed the new project could be used to protect government agencies and ISPs.

“What better way of providing automated defenses at scale than by the major private providers effectively blocking their customers from coming into contact with known malware and bad addresses?” he asked, according to Wired.

Martin apparently claimed the UK now faces twice as many “national security level cyber incidents” as it did a year ago.

The National Cyber Security Centre is set to open in October having been announced by then chancellor George Osborne last year as part of a £1.9 billion commitment to cybersecurity.

Security experts cautiously welcomed Martin’s commitment to a new policy of active cyber defense.

Paul Taylor, UK head of cybersecurity at KPMG said it’s going to take “innovation and coordination” to stay ahead of the cyber-criminals, with small businesses particularly vulnerable.

“A new partnership between government and industry is needed to protect our society, take the offensive against criminals, and work together to disrupt digital crime,” he added.

“At the moment many companies are reluctant to share information on attacks they’ve suffered, we need to build a safe space for government and industry to share intelligence so that we have the best chance of tackling cybercrime.”

Meanwhile, Huntsman Security’s head of product management, Piers Wilson, argued a UK ‘firewall’ could help filter out the high volume lower level threats that tend to deluge some organizations.

“Dealing with the volume of low-level threats is still just one part of the puzzle; organizations remain at risk from more targeted attacks and insider threats, which the new ‘Great Firewall of Britain’ could do little to solve,” he added.

“As such, organizations themselves still need the capability to triage those threats that do still make it through, so they can identify the most serious and prioritize them accordingly.”

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