The Russian connectionRussia has been cyber-attacking “U.K. media, telecommunications, and energy sectors”: U.K. cybersecurity chief

Published 17 November 2017

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the U.K. National Cyber Security Center (NCSC): “I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Center, has included attacks on the U.K. media, telecommunications and energy sectors. That is clearly a cause for concern — Russia is seeking to undermine the international system.”

Russian cyberattacking extends beyond the U.S. // Source:


Ciaran Martin, CEO of the U.K. National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), addressed the growing threats within cyberspace at The Times Tech Summit, held on 15 November 2017 in London.

Participants in the Tech Summit heard presentations on cyber issues such as AI, cyber skills, diversity of the cyber workforce – and how the U.K. government and private sector may cooperate to increase the security of, and people’s trust in, the digital economy.

“As a securocrat,” Martin said, “my job is to enable this – not to sound unnecessary warnings about the future, but to make sure we are embracing these opportunities safely.”

He continued:

Before we get to that and seize these opportunities, we have a few problems first. That’s why we want to fix some things in the present – then that will enable us to embrace these huge, big ideas about where we are going.

Right now, we are facing, as a nation, two significant groups of threats in cyber space. The first is hostile states. The Prime Minister sent Russia a clear message on Monday night – we know what you are doing, and you will not succeed [see “Russia “weaponized information” to sow discord in West, destroy post-WWII international order: Theresa May,” HSNW, 17 November 2017].

I can’t get into too much of the details of intelligence matters, but that much is clear. The PM made the point on Monday night – that international order as we know it is in danger of being eroded.

No system in the world is completely invulnerable from attack, but during our first year in operation, we have made strides to make sure the country is as secure as possible from the substantial threats posed. This included responding to more than 600 significant incidents. Some of those relate to that first group of threats from hostile states, but the second relates to what I would call ‘rampant criminality’ in cyber space.

That’s more likely to affect each and every one of us in our corporate and individual lives than the big state threats. What they do have in common is that they exploit basic weakness – some criminal attacks, but mostly state attacks, are extremely sophisticated. But even the most sophisticated exploit basic vulnerabilities. So my point today is before we get onto things like robots reading books on trains, we need to understand stuff like this. We need to think about attacks that do damage to individual corporations and people’s confidence in the digital economy.