cyber attack

In an effort to help intelligence operatives and law enforcement prioritize their response to cyber Incidents, the UK’s national cyber security body has introduced a new categorization system to classify cyberattacks.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) announced Thursday it will collaborate with law enforcement agencies to defend against the growing threat through the new framework.

The framework encompasses cyber incidents in all sectors of the economy, including central and local government, industry, charities, universities, schools, small businesses and individuals. It identifies six levels of severity, ranging from individual attacks to crippling attacks on UK’s national infrastructure.

The framework will help the NCSC’s incident response team classify attacks and respond accordingly. Cyberattacks which may have a national impact will be reported to the NCSC, including cyberattacks which are likely to harm UK national security, the economy, public confidence, or public health and safety.

Depending on the incident, the NCSC may be able to provide direct technical support. The NCSC also provides guidance and advice on its website for companies or individuals in need. People or businesses suffering from a cyberattack below the national impact threshold will contact Action Fraud, UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting center, who will respond in accordance with the new incident categorization.

Information processed by the new framework will ultimately be used to generate the most comprehensive national picture of the cyber threat landscape, spanning the full range of incidents from national crises to cyberattacks on individuals.

“This new joint approach, developed in partnership with UK law enforcement, will strengthen the UK’s ability to respond to the significant, growing and diverse cyber threats we face,” said Paul Chichester, the NCSC’s Director of Operations.

“The new system will offer an improved framework for dealing with incidents, especially as GDPR and the NIS Directive come into force shortly.

According to the NCSC, it has responded to more than 800 significant incidents since October 2016 and their incident responders will now classify attacks into six specific categories rather than the previous three.

“The NCA and wider law enforcement already work hand in hand with the NCSC to provide a strong, coordinated response to cyber incidents targeting the UK,” said Ollie Gower, Deputy Director at the National Crime Agency.

“This new framework will ensure we are using the same language to describe and prioritize cyber threats, helping us deliver an even more joined up response.”

The announcement was made on the final day of CYBERUK18, the NCSC’s flagship conference.