New £1.5m centre to 'prevent and respond to threat of cyber attack'

The Scottish Government's Scottish Cyber Co-ordination Centre (SC3) will pool expertise.

Scottish Government unveils plan for Scottish Cyber Co-ordination Centre to combat cyber attack iStock

The Scottish Government has announced plans to create a new centre to prevent and respond to the “accelerating threat of cyber attack”.

The £1.5m Scottish Cyber Co-ordination Centre (SC3) will pool expertise to share intelligence, provide early warning of cyber threats and attacks, manage incidents and lead recovery.

The creation of SC3 is part of the Scottish Government’s Covid Recovery Strategy and will have a primary focus on the public sector initially.

It will involve the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Scottish Government, Police Scotland, National Services Scotland (health), the Digital Office (local authorities), and Hefestis (higher education).

It will also work closely with the cyber security industry to support its ambitions.

The announcement has been made ahead of CyberScotland Week, which will feature around 100 events and activities across the country that focus on building the cyber resilience of individuals, businesses and organisations.

Deputy first minister John Swinney said: “At times of heightened international tension, it is more important than ever to ensure that Scotland is ready to defend itself against cyber attacks.

“Sustaining and increasing Scotland’s cyber resilience requires us to continue harnessing the power of working in partnership, and stepping it up at all levels.

“Establishing a new dedicated cyber co-ordination centre is a bold and ambitious development for Scotland.

“By providing a central coordination function that pools expertise from across a number of existing or developing Centres of Excellence, we can maximise our ability to work together to address cyber threats and attacks – whether that is sharing intelligence, providing early warnings, managing incidents or leading recovery.”

Recruitment for a head of the centre is already underway, with SC3 set to be formally launched later this year.

Including the head of centre post, it is expected that there will be nine dedicated members of staff recruited during year one. In the first instance, staff will be located within the Scottish Government.

Swinney added: “During CyberScotland Week, I would urge individuals, businesses and organisations across Scotland to reflect on what they can do to keep themselves and others safe from emerging threats.

“The National Cyber Security Centre has trustworthy and up-to-the minute guidance on keeping safe and secure online.”