The latest news from CYBERUK 2024 is all about cybersecurity! On day two of the event, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) introduced a brand new cyber defence service aimed at providing free support to thousands of high-risk individuals. This initiative is especially timely, considering it’s a major election year.


How NCSC Is Protecting Our Democracy

Political candidates, election officials, and other key figures who might be targeted online can now access top-notch support from the UK’s cyber experts. The NCSC, part of GCHQ, rolled out this new service on Wednesday to help prevent spear-phishing, malware, and other cyber threats.

The service in question is called Personal Internet Protection. This will add an extra security layer to personal devices. It warns users if they try to visit known malicious domains and blocks any outgoing traffic to these sites. This opt-in service is part of a broader package designed to protect those playing crucial roles in our democracy as the next general election approaches.

The government has recently highlighted attempts by Russian and Chinese state-affiliated actors to target UK institutions and individuals, including members of parliament. Given these threats, the new service couldn’t come at a better time.


Global Cooperation for Civil Society

CYBERUK also saw international partners from five countries come together to discuss protecting civil society groups from transnational repression. These groups, which promote democratic values, are under increasing threat from state-sponsored cyber actors.

Jonathon Ellison, NCSC’s Director for National Resilience and Future Technology, emphasized the importance of this initiative: “Individuals who play important roles in our democracy are attractive targets for cyber actors. That’s why the NCSC has ramped up support to help them protect their accounts and devices.”

The NCSC’s assessment reveals that both personal and official accounts of candidates and election officials are prime targets for espionage operations. The Personal Internet Protection service builds on the successful Protective DNS service, which has safeguarded millions of public sector users since 2017.


What now?

The new guidance for civil society groups is tailored for those at a higher risk of cyber attacks but who often have fewer resources to defend themselves. This includes elected officials, journalists, activists, academics, lawyers, and dissidents.

This guidance was developed following a gathering of agencies from ten countries at CYBERUK for the second Strategic Dialogue on the Cyber Security of Civil Society Under Threat from Transnational Repression.

Co-chaired by the NCSC and the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The dialogue included updates and progress reports from countries like Austria. Canada. Denmark. Estonia. Japan. New Zealand. Norway, and Romania. Participants committed to continuing their collaboration to enhance the resilience of global democracy.

So, if you’re at high risk or know someone who is, now’s the time to take advantage. Sign yourself up to these robust new protections and stay one step ahead of cyber threats!