GCHQ launches threat intelligence sharing pilot

Cyber war

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has announced the first stage of a pilot scheme allowing communications service providers to receive intelligence regarding cyber attacks earlier than was previously possible.

The initiative was revealed in the closing keynote of the private government IA14 security conference in London by Iain Lobban who will be leaving his post as director at the agency this year.

Lobban said the pilot scheme will protect those at risk of cyber attacks through the sharing of data the government and individual organisations already hold.

"Ultimately, we're seeking to use our unique capabilities and the range of insights gleaned from our intelligence and security work to offer at scale and pace classified information about threats to the UK's most critical networks," he told the group of central government, public sector, industry and academia decision-makers.

"They will be able to use this privileged awareness to take early action on the networks they manage, whether government or other critical UK networks," he continued.

The initiative will help those involved in the scheme act as the UK's first line of defence in countering cyber threats to the nation from state actors and cyber criminals, Lobban explained.

Previously, CERT-UK was the main body to deliver support to the industry and to provide information and advice regarding cyberthreats, but GCHQ's new initiative will embrace a more automated process and will extend beyond CERT-UK's partners.

Although the initial stages of the pilot will only involve service providers, there are plans to extend this to other industries in the future.

Martin Sutherland, managing director of BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, commented: "It is essential that we continue to improve the ways in which government and industry work together and we welcome this bold step by GCHQ to improve the quality of threat intelligence that the private sector has access to it will help to protect consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.