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By Professor Phil Legg

Earlier this month saw the UK Government host their flagship annual cyber security conference, CYBERUK 2022, that brings together government, industry and academia. Hosted in Newport, South Wales, there were thousands of attendees from major corporations, global government leaders, and the UK academic communities that work closely with the National Cyber Security Centre to understand the technical, economic and social challenges around modern cyber security and its position in today’s world. 

Ransomware, organised crimes groups, and nation state attacks, were all key agenda items up for debate. We heard talks describing how the average cyber-attack is now estimated to cost £2.2 million in terms of the remediate impact that organisations face, be that information, operational and asset-based losses, reputational damage, legislative costs, and other financial implications. We heard discussion about the recent log4j crisis that has hit businesses around the globe, that emphasises the challenges around software supply chain security, and understanding the different software components, be that open-source or proprietary code bases, that make up an organisation’s platform for conducting business. Perhaps one of the most poignant moments of the event was hearing from victims of cyber crime – specifically those tasked with defending their organisations, their staff, and their customers – and hearing about the human impact of cyber crime and the full range of emotional turmoil that people have been thrown into. The recent events in Ukraine and Russia highlight this further, as we have witnessed cyber attacks as part of warfare. As we live in a connected society, there is no doubt that our online and offline worlds are now as one. 

Education will always sit in the centre of cyber security and cyber crime, since prevention will always be greater than the cure. That is why the work of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crime Research Cluster, coupled with the work of our NCSC Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE) continues to play a vital role in how we can identify, mitigate, and prevent against criminal activities and the dangers that they pose to our connected society. 

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