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NCSC’s ‘Active Cyber Defence’ Initiative Boasts Impressive First-Year Results

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has today released the results of its Active Cyber Defence (ACD) initiative, which was launched one year ago.

The technology, which is free at the point of use, improves defense against threats by blocking fake emails, removing phishing attacks and stopping public sector systems veering onto malicious servers.

As detailed in the report Active Cyber Defence - One Year On, since the inception of the ACD, UK share of visible global phishing attacks has dropped from 5.3% (June 2016) to 3.1% (Nov 2017), with 121,479 phishing sites hosted in the UK removed.

What’s more, takedown availability times for sites spoofing government brands came down from 42 hours to 10 hours and there was a drop of scam emails from bogus ‘@gov.uk’.

There have been more than one million security scans and seven million security tests carried out on public sector websites, with an average of 4.5 million malicious emails blocked per month from reaching users.

“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 program 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 behavior and we will need to adapt.”

Bob Rudis, chief data scientist at Rapid7, said that the design and labor behind the NCSC’s ACD initiatives – along with the inaugural published results – are nothing short of incredible.

“The NCSC has proved that with collaboration and appropriate support, it is possible to implement foundational cybersecurity monitoring, configuration, and reporting that fundamentally changes the economics for opportunistic/commodity attackers.

“This ‘active defense’ experiment by the NCSC – if adopted by other countries and even other large organizations – could radically change the attacker/defender landscape.”

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