The head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has highlighted the importance of continued collaboration between Ireland and the UK to protect shared interests and counter threats in cyberspace.
Speaking virtually to an audience at the influential Institute of International & European Affairs (IIEA) in Dublin, Lindy Cameron (pictured) described the Ireland-UK relationship as a “source of great strength.”
The CEO of the NCSC – which is a part of GCHQ – depicted the partnership as crucial in “combatting our shared threats”, and highlighted the risks posed by established states that seek to do both nations harm through cyber attacks.
She discussed how critical national infrastructure that is shared between Ireland and Northern Ireland, such as the rail link between Belfast and Dublin, present attractive targets for cyber criminals and hostile states.
Cameron said: “The governments of both UK and Ireland have been clear that they will not tolerate malicious cyber activity, and we have and will publicly call out state-level attacks.
“State sponsored cyber activity represents one of the most malicious strategic threats to the national interests of both the UK and Ireland. It is hugely important.
“Tracking and defending the UK from our most sophisticated adversaries represents much of our core business, usually working to support victims behind the scenes.
“State threats are a reality in cyberspace. Four nation states – China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, have been a constant presence in recent years. As I’ve said before, we face a determined, aggressive Russia, seeking traditional political advantage by new, high-tech means.”
On the recent ransomware attack impacting Ireland’s Health Executive (HSE), Cameron praised the Irish government’s response and its refusal to pay the ransom. She noted that cyber criminals are out to make money – and the more times a method is successful, the more times it will be used.
Elsewhere, Cameron also emphasised the importance of relationships across the global cyber community, which includes collaboration between all four nations of the UK sharing information and threat assessments with international partners.
She outlined the strength of the UK’s relationship with its allies and close partners across the world, and reaffirmed the commitment to take collective action against the threat.