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Queen Elizabeth II inaugurates Britain's new cybersecurity agency

By Andrew V. Pestano and Allen Cone
Queen Elizabeth II inaugurates Britain's new cybersecurity agency
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip on Tuesday inaugurated Britain's new National Cyber Security Center that will work to protect the country from online attacks. Photo courtesy of National Cyber Security Center

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday inaugurated Britain's new National Cyber Security Center that will work to protect the country from online attacks.

The 90-year-old queen opened the London center along with her husband, 95-year-old Prince Philip. NCSC Chief Executive Officer Ciaran Martin delivered a speech at the event. The center is part of a five-year, $2.4 billion investment to thwart hackings.

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"Our job is to make the U.K. the safest place to live and do business online. 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 organizations," Ciaran said. "We want to be at the center of a new era of online opportunity and help people to feel as safe as possible when using technology to its fullest potential."

The NCSC headquarters will work as an operational nerve center to improve Britain's resilience against online attacks. The NCSC said Britain faces about 60 serious attacks a month. Britain has an estimated digital sector worth nearly $150 billion.

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"We have had significant losses of personal data, significant intrusions by hostile state actors, significant reconnaissance against critical national infrastructure -- and our job is to make sure we deal with it in the most effective way possible," Martin said.

Martin also said Britain is concerned about accusations Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election but said there is no evidence Russia has attacked or compromised Britain.

"I think there has been a significant change in the Russian approach to cyberattacks and the willingness to carry it out, and clearly that's something we need to be prepared to deal with," Martin said. "There has been an identifiable trend in Russian attacks in the West, in terms of focusing on critical national industries and political and democratic processes ... And so it follows from that that we will look to be sure we are protecting those sectors in the U.K. as well as we possibly can."

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Britain is investigating the nation's largest cyberheist -- $3 million siphoned off 9,000 accounts at Tesco Bank last November.

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