EXPERTS from the UK government’s lead cyber security authority explored ways to further enhance Welsh resilience during a visit to Newport.

Delegates from the National Cyber Security Centre, which has a base in Newport, led by its chief executive Ciaran Martin, met with a range of counterparts to discuss the work each are doing to protect the UK from the threat of online attacks.

Also on the agenda were ways to improve the talent pipeline of Wales’ next generation of cyber security experts.

The NCSC run three CyberFirst courses for school children in Wales and the University of South Wales is one of only three in the UK to deliver a specialist NCSC-Certified Master’s degree in Digital Forensics.

The UK government is fully committed to defending against cyber threats.

The NCSC was created as part of GCHQ through the five year National Cyber Security Strategy announced in 2016, supported by £1.9bn of transformational investment.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the NCSC, said: “The National Cyber Security Centre team was very excited to be visiting Wales to see first-hand the great work being done by both government and the private sector.

“Cyber attacks are a real risk to economic wellbeing in Wales and to Welsh citizens. As a UK-wide organisation, the NCSC is fully committed to helping to defend Wales from cyber threats.

“We need strong partners across the whole of Welsh society to do that, and look forward to speaking to the Welsh Government and seeing the fantastic innovation under way in cyber security in Newport.”

Alison Whitney, deputy director for digital government, said: “To mitigate and defend against cyber threats it’s vital that we have good relationships with public sector and business partners in Wales.

“As the lead technical authority on cyber, the NCSC actively promotes a culture where science and technology can thrive.

“We will do everything we can to support Welsh initiatives to build cyber security awareness and help them to adopt good cyber security practices.”

During the visit, which also took in Cardiff, the NCSC team attended the Wales Resilience Forum, chaired by Carl Sargeant, cabinet secretary for communities and children, to discuss the way the NCSC works with the body and the Welsh Government.

Carl Sargeant said: “Cyber attacks are an increasing threat which have the potential to cause widespread disruption to public services.

“There is a growing need for us all to be aware of this risk and ensure that our IT systems are resilient against attacks.

“I am therefore grateful to the National Cyber Security Centre team for coming to Wales to brief us on the work they do.”

Collaboration with industry and law enforcement is also a major part of the NCSC’s work, and the team took part in a cross-sector roundtable discussion with representatives from Welsh Police Forces, the South Wales Cyber Cluster and Higher Education establishments.

They also visited Innovation Point in Newport, an agency which works with technology businesses and investment communities to find, support and promote digital innovation in the region.

David Warrender, CEO of Innovation Point, said: “We are delighted to be working with the NCSC, particularly as innovation in cyber security technology has become an increasing focus for the region.

“For example, we are also hosting a ‘Cyber 101 bootcamp’ which aims to grow the UK’s cyber security sector by developing the capability of cyber security businesses.”