Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Geo Focus: The United Kingdom , Geo-Specific

UK NCSC Launches New Hacking Alert System for Politicians

Personal Internet Protection Is an 'Extra Layer of Security' for Personal Devices
UK NCSC Launches New Hacking Alert System for Politicians

The U.K. government launched a cyber defense system for alerting political parties and candidates to cyberthreats amid concerns over increased nation-state hacking ahead of the next British election.

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The system, Personal Internet Protection, is "an extra layer of security on personal devices," said the National Cyber Security Center, which designed the system.

The center said it seeks to prevent political candidates and election officials from being victims of spear-phishing, malware and other cyberthreats. The latest possible date for the Conservative British government to call a general election is next Jan. 28.

The alert system relies on the NCSC's Protective Domain Name Service, designed to alert critical services of malicious domain activities. Political leaders and organizations can sign up for the service to receive security alerts.

These include alerting its users of any device compromise and notifying them of the latest industry cyber hygiene practices, as well as malicious domain activities.

The initiative from the government comes amid rising attacks against critical infrastructure by Chinese and Russian threat groups. Just weeks ago, British Secretary of State for Defense Grant Shapps publicly disclosed a possible Chinese hack on a U.K. defense contractor that exposed 270,000 individuals (see: Suspected Chinese Hackers Hacked UK Defense Contractor).

Months earlier, the U.K. government attributed an attack on the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China - an international pressure group of lawmakers dedicated to countering Beijing - to a Chinese state threat actor tracked as APT31 (see: UK Discloses Chinese Espionage Activities).

Speaking at the CyberUK conference on Tuesday in Birmingham, Anne Keast-Butler‎‎, director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, warned that China poses an "epoch-defining threat to the U.K"

"With their coercive and destabilizing actions, China poses a significant risk to international norms and values. We believe that the People's Republic of China's irresponsible actions weaken the security of the internet," Keast-Butler said" (see: UK, US Officials Warn About Chinese Cyberthreat).

On Wednesday, in partnership with the U.S., Japanese and Estonian cyber agencies, the NCSC released additional guidance to assist political leaders and other high-risk individuals in better protecting themselves.

The guidance calls for regularly updating personal devices, being on the lookout for spear-phishing emails, and enabling multifactor authentication.

About the Author

Akshaya Asokan

Akshaya Asokan

Senior Correspondent, ISMG

Asokan is a U.K.-based senior correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She previously worked with IDG and other publications, reporting on developments in technology, minority rights and education.

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