Security experts leading the fight against cyber threats to the UK set out their commitment to joint working with devolved organisations in Scotland during a visit to Edinburgh and Glasgow today.

The UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is a part of GCHQ, was opened in February to help make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the NCSC, will led a team of intelligence experts meeting a range of counterparts in Scotland to discuss the work each have been doing to protect the UK from the threat of cyber attacks.

A key objective of the organisation is to reduce risks to the UK by working with public and private sector organisations to improve their cyber security, and one of the items of discussion will be the merits of establishing a permanent NCSC post in Scotland.

“We are absolutely committed to helping Scotland benefit from the great opportunities afforded by the digital age and we must all work together to reduce the increasing cyber threats,” said Martin.

“It’s vital that we have good relationships with public sector and business partners in Scotland to mitigate against threats, but when attacks do get through we have robust action plans to defend against them.

“Attacks can take place anywhere, at any time, and the National Cyber Security Centre works in partnership with UK and Scottish Government, industry and citizens in Scotland to make sure that we are as resilient as possible.”

During the visit, the NCSC delegation met members of the Scottish National Cyber Resilience Leaders’ Board (NCRLB) and the Scottish Resilience Partnership (SRP) in Glasgow.

Cyber threats evolution

On the agenda was  NCSC’s assessment of the cyber threat and its likely evolution, the role they will each play in addressing this threat, and areas where members feel there are opportunities for better joint working between the organisations.

The delegation then travelled to Edinburgh to discuss issues, including incident and risk management, in meetings with representatives of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.

The NCSC delegates also visited the University of Edinburgh, home to Scotland’s first Academic Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security Research. The UK Government approved it as a Centre of Excellence in June this year.

Alison Whitney, deputy director for digital government, said: “We are delighted there is now a university in Scotland spearheading academic research into cyber security north of the border, and look forward to seeing the work they are doing.

“At the NCSC, we are absolutely committed to maintaining and improving our already strong reputation as a global leader in cutting edge research, and look forward to collaborating with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh.

“They will conduct world-class cyber security research and this initiative will improve the way academics, government and business work together – benefiting the whole of the UK.”

The UK Government is committed to defending against cyber threats and address the cyber skills gap to develop and grow talent. A five-year UK National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) was announced in November last year, supported by £1.9bn.