Yesterday, GCHQ’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was opened by The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, in central London.
Part of the intelligence agency GCHQ, the centre represents a £1.9 billion five-year strategy to protect the nation’s government, business’s, economy and wider society from hackers and cyber attacks.
“Our job is to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online,” said Ciaran Martin, head of the NCSC. “We will help secure our critical services, lead the response to the most serious incidents and improve the underlying security of the Internet through technological improvement and advice to citizens and organisations.
“We want to be at the centre of a new era of online opportunity and help people to feel as safe as possible when using technology to its fullest potential.”
Her Majesty, in a teal ensemble, and Prince Philip were joined on a tour of the facility, located in Victoria, by numerous government officials. Chancellor Phillip Hammond, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, Minister for the Cabinet Office Ben Gummer and Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock.
During the event Her Majesty was shown how hackers could target the UK’s electricity supply, and other aspects of the country’s infrastructure in such an attack. The UK government suffered at least 188 major cyber attacks in the past three months, with Mr Martin explaining the attacks are mostly from China and Russia.
The Queen unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the opening of the NCSC and signed an official photograph.
In a more personal aspect of the visit, Elizabeth II viewed a war-time Royal Household telephone directory, which had secret cyphers used by her father, King George VI.