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UK government launches cyber security unit – POLITICO.eu

A person uses a laptop computer | Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The unit is tasked with protecting the government from cyberattacks.

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The British government officially launches its National Cyber Security Centre on Tuesday, designed to protect the authorities and companies against cyberattacks.

The unit, which has been operating since late last year but gets an official launch Tuesday, is part of GCHQ, the U.K.’s security and intelligence agency. Its job is to discover vulnerabilities in public sector websites, help government departments better protect their email, and take down phishing sites that could harm users. It has already taken down “tens of thousands” of such sites, a government statement said.

“Business has to sharpen its approach as the scale of the threat from cyber increases and intensifies. And this center stands ready to help them in doing that,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will say at the opening,

Cyberattacks at companies such as Sony and eBay have not only caused substantial financial harm, but also resulted in consumers’ private information being stolen.

The center cost £1.9 billion, and it is looking to add up to 100 staff from the private sector, the government said.

After American intelligence agencies said Russian hackers interfered in last year’s presidential election, many European countries holding national elections this year are also afraid of the increasing number and sophistication of cyberattacks.

Last week, the Italian foreign ministry announced that it was a victim of cyberattacks that may have compromised some emails from its embassies. The Dutch government, in fear of similar attacks, decided to count the ballots in next month’s election manually.


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