WannaCry Biggest Test of the Year, Says UK’s National Cyber Security Centre

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UK’s National Cyber Security Centre states that the WannaCry ransomware was the biggest test of the year.

The NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre), which completes one year, has made this observation in its first annual review.

The NCSC was launched in October 2016 with an objective to help defend UK’s “…critical services from cyber attacks, manage major incidents, and improve the underlying security of the UK Internet through technological improvement and advice to citizens and organizations.” The National Cyber Security Centre supports critical organizations, the public sector, industry and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

In its Annual Report for 2017, the NCSC says, referring to the WannaCry outbreak, “On 12 May, the NCSC faced its biggest test of the year”. The report goes on to detail the outbreak of the WannaCry ransomware and how it impacted more than 100 countries and affected organizations everywhere. The report discusses how WannaCry impacted the UK and how the NCSC reacted and supported everyone affected by the ransomware strike.

Danny Palmer, a senior reporter at ZDNet, explained, “The National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) annual review marks a year since it started work, although it was officially opened in February. In those 12 months, the NCSC says 1,131 cyber incidents have been reported to it…Of those, 590 were classed as significant cyber attacks, ranging from attacks on National Health Service hospitals and the Houses of Parliament, through to attacks on businesses.”

He explains that of these 590 significant attacks, 30 were so serious that the NCSC had to coordinate a cross-government response. The WannaCry attack proved even more significant and needed the NCSC to bring about a meeting of the government’s Cobra crisis committee.

Danny Palmer’s post on the NCSC Annual report says- “The WannaCry epidemic saw ransomware spread with the help of a leaked NSA exploit and infected over 300,000 PCs at major organizations around the globe. The NHS was one of the highest profile victims of the attack, with 47 trusts and foundation trusts affected. The ransomware forced a number of hospitals offline and some took weeks to recover. The NCSC’s response to WannaCry involved a record number of cybersecurity professionals sharing information and NCSC experts deployed to sites which had fallen victim.”

The NCSC is dedicated to reducing cyber risks to the UK and helping secure businesses, people and the government through its Active Cyber Defence programs. The Centre also works towards ensuring secure and effective operations of UK’s armed forces.

The ZDNet report, discussing the role of the NCSC in handling the WannaCry outbreak, adds – “The NCSC continues to investigate who carried out the attack. While the culprit hasn’t officially been identified, security services on both sides of the Atlantic suspect the attack was launched by hackers in North Korea.”

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Julia is a security geek with 5-plus years of experience. She writes on various topics pertaining to network security.