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UK Cyber Security Group was delighted to be invited to comment on the Ministry of Defence hack on GB News.

The interview was with Jacob Rees-Mogg – Conservative MP for North East Somerset.

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I also noticed that Philip Ingram was interviewed by the Times Frontline on this and other matters.

By the time of my interview it had been announced that the victim of the attack was Shared Services Connected Limited ( SSCL ) who were ” the largest provider of critical services to the Government, MoD and Police. ”

SSCL was also found by us to hold the Cyber Essentials Plus Certification which a supplier of this nature should have.

Grant Shapps had made a statement that the attack was by a ” malign actor ” and it could not be ruled out that it was a ” state actor “.

There were indications in a number of news reports that it was likely to be China or a proxy for China.

Also there was a report that SSCL had been in trouble of this nature before – putting prison staff data at risk in 2019.

The matter had been reported to the Information Commissioners Office ( ico ) and there will be an investigation and a verdict. ( Grant Shapps ordered a ” specialist investigation ” ).

We have previously reported on and discussed the ico investigation of construction company Interserve which resulted in a £4.4 Million fine for failing to get the fundamental Cyber Security defences in place.

So the picture is not looking good for SSCL but again let’s focus on the attackers and not the victim.

As Philip Ingram says we are being attacked by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea continuously and we need to direct our attention to defending against them and also appropriate responses.

One of the reasons that UK Cyber Security Group works closely with a number of Ukrainian companies is that Ukraine is on the frontline of kinetic and simultaneous cyber attacks.

In regards to Interserve the ico said that they and all companies need to pay attention to:

  • Cyber Essentials
  • Training of staff
  • Having an appropriate detection and remediation system
  • Keeping software up to date with the latest releases and patches

Cyber Security is not just about Technical solutions, it is also about People ( Training ), the right Processes AND Leadership from senior management – ensuring the cyber awareness culture is embedded in the organisation.

We talk about Cyber Essentials, Insurance, Assurance ( People and Processes ) and increasingly, Cyber Compliance.

As we are on a war footing we must cyber secure each and every element in the supply chain.

This particularly means the 99% or so of UK Businesses that are SME’s but supply Government, MoD and Police and other business’s.

We are only as strong as the weakest link in the supply chain.

We therefore say, in summary:

  • China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are attacking us and they are our enemies we must defend against them in every way including attacking them where necessary.
  • We must get the fundamentals right as described above and as reiterated by GCHQ, NCSC and the ico.
  • We must learn from Ukrainians – who are battling Russians every day and have the necessary battlefield Knowledge and experience.
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