In an interview to the Guardian, the head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has warned that a major cyber-attack on Britain is a matter of time.
Ciaran Martin told media how fortunate UK has been to avoid a category one (C1) attack so far — an attack that might cripple infrastructure such as energy supplies and the financial services sector.
However, he added that it was only a matter of ‘when, not if” when such a crippling cyberattack takes place: “I think it is a matter of when, not if and we will be fortunate to come to the end of the decade without having to trigger a category one attack.”
Countries like the US, France and other parts of Europe have already faced such cyber attacks. Martin also told media he anticipates an attack to take place in the next two years.
While admitting that total protection was impossible in such cases, the security chief added: “Some attacks will get through. What you need to do [at that point]is cauterise the damage.”
So far, the worst attack in the UK was WannaCry ransomware attack in May last year that caused problems across the world and demanded payment to restore systems. The malware infected machines at 81 health trusts across England.
Russia, Iran and China have been blamed for intrusions into the computer systems.