In the first of a series of interviews with #PaladinExperts, Sir David Omand, the UK’s first Security and Intelligence Coordinator and Professor Ciaran Martin, the founding CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, discuss how the cyber threat is changing and the response of the security sector.

Ciaran highlights the increase in potency of the threat with a blending of attack capabilities leading to threats against democracy and the rise of disinformation. Governments are increasingly working alongside the private sector to develop solutions. Sir David questions the impact of the Internet of Things and whether a move to cloud computing could help SMEs build their defenses.

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Here’s the full transcript of the video:

  • David Omand: What kind of… experience, particularly from your time at the National Cyber Security Centre, of how the cyber threat, and the cybersecurity market to meet it, has actually changed?
  • Ciaran Martin: I think there was a change in the threat. There’s been an increase in the potency of some of the attacks. I think there’s been a spread and this blending of cyber capabilities into wider offensives against our democracy and our political discourse, and our trust in information has been an interesting example. I think also the way in which we are using industry and innovation to respond to it has got better. It’s improved. Now I think you’re seeing governments, and I’m proud that the NCSC led the way, using the private sector to fix specific problems.
  • David Omand: The internet of things, I think, poses a set of problems, How are we going to secure the city of the future if everything has been wired up, the traffic management systems, the water systems, the electricity systems, with thousands of access points? The larger companies can … afford 24/7 monitoring, the smaller ones across the economy can’t afford that kind of protection. Is it a move to the cloud that would help them?
  • Ciaran Martin: Cloud computing is safe enough for most things if it’s done well, but it involves two to make the cloud work: it involves the cloud provider and the customer. We need to make it easy for smaller businesses to use the cloud successfully… for them to understand threat, to understand risk, to understand what to buy? From the investor’s point, and from the innovator’s point, there’s tremendous opportunity there to develop solutions.