The head of the National Cyber Security Centre has warned that a major cyber attack on the UK is a matter of “when, not if”, raising the prospect of devastating disruption to elections and critical infrastructure.
Ciaran Martin said he anticipates such an attack in the next two years: “I think it is a matter of when, not if and we will be fortunate to come to the end of the decade without having to trigger a category one attack.”
He also said that although he had not seen any successful attempts to interfere with the UK’s democratic process, intelligence-gathering may have taken place for potential future attacks.
Although WannaCry caused a lot of disruption, the attack was classed as C2 rather than C1 because there was no risk to life.
A C1 attack is one that might cripple infrastructure such as energy supplies and the financial services sector.
Steve Malone, director of security product management at Mimecast, said: “Despite the educational efforts of security companies and government so far, it’s clear that organisations need more support and training fast.”
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