1. ITV Report

Centre opens to fight the rise in cyber attacks

Credit: ITV West Country

A new centre to help prevent cyber attacks in the UK has been opened in Gloucester. The UK Cyber Security Centre is part of a £3m investment by the aerospace company Lockheed Martin.

90 people will work there alongside the government on delivering what it describes as "cutting edge capabilities" against cyber attacks.

Cyber security is one of the most challenging issues that countries face and Lockheed Martin is uniquely placed to help develop solutions to protect our national security.

Our Cyber Works centre will draw on our extensive expertise in this area and act as a hub for collaboration with government, industry, academia and international partners on Research & Development, skills and training.

– Peter Ruddock, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin UK

Deon Viergutz, Vice President of Cyber Solutions at Lockheed Martin told ITV West Country that keeping up with the hackers is a daily challenge.

Cyber crime attacks are becoming more common.

Marcus Hutchins, aka 'Malware Tech' foiled a ransomware attack on the NHS. Credit: ITV West Country

Earlier this year, Marcus Hutchins, a cyber researcher from Devon, foiled a ransomware attack which crippled NHS computers and organisations around the world, hitting more than 150 countries.

He did it by ingeniously spotting a flaw in the virus code which meant that registering a certain web address would stop it in its tracks.

People were inundating me with messages saying I am a hero, I just registered this domain for tracking, I didn't intend for it to blow up and for me to be all over the media.

– Marcus Hutchins aka 'MalwareTech', speaking in May
This hair salon in Cheltenham was hit by a cyber attack last year. Credit: ITV West Country

Cyber attacks are often run by criminals, extorting money by taking over computers and encrypting data. Last summer, a hairdressing salon in Cheltenham suffered just such an attack. They had to pay almost £2,000 to unlock the encrypted files.

We have 50 staff. We have 150 clients coming here every day. This is a business we built up over 12 years. At the moment we have nothing, and, yes, there is a risk that we pay £1,600 pounds but if it means we can get some of our data back then it is worth that risk.

– Sara Holmes, Salon owner, speaking last year
An example of a ransomware attack. Credit: ITV West Country

But organisations are fighting back, desperate to get on top of a problem in which criminals or even rogue nations, can mount an attack using just a computer and keyboard.

With our National Cyber Security Strategy, Britain is a world leader in the field and the opening of today’s cutting-edge centre is a great example of how partnerships with industry are at the heart of that strategy. Together we are developing solutions to national security risks.

We are already leading in NATO with support to offensive and defensive operations in the fight against Daesh and complex cyber threats, and I’m also delighted that this centre will further boost the UK’s cyber capabilities.

– Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin MP