UK cybercrime body launches private sector drive as Queen opens new HQ

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) invited private sector companies to train and collaborate with it on cyber defense, as Queen Elizabeth formally opened its London hub on Tuesday.

The NCSC started last October and is moving into a new operations center in Victoria, central London. The “NCSC Industry 100” initiative will look to embed people from industry to identify threats, vulnerabilities, and develop advice to combat cyber attacks.

NCSC head Ciaran Martin said Britain had been the target of 188 cyber attacks in the last three months and warned a major attack was likely in the future.

The NCSC currently expects the proposed secondment program - which will embed 100 private sector staff by the end of financial year 2017/18 - to be funded by industry.

Private sector collaboration with the NCSC is already taking place, with aerospace major Lockheed Martin announcing it would back a work-study program targeted at students entering college.

The NCSC is part of a 1.9 billion-pound ($2.4 billion) program to boost Britain’s cyber defenses, and forms part of the intelligence and security organization, GCHQ, the government communications headquarters.

It has delivered trial services that discover vulnerabilities in public sector websites, help government departments better manage spoofing of their email and has taken down tens of thousands of phishing sites affecting the UK.

It is currently investigating Britain’s biggest cyber heist - 2.5 million pounds stolen from Tesco Bank.

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; editing by Stephen Addison