The so-called ‘Five Eyes’ – a partnership of global intelligence agencies made up of Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – shared a stage for the first time ever at a huge gathering of international cyber security experts in Glasgow this week.

CYBERUK, the two-day conference and trade show for the UK and international industry, took place at the SEC in the city from Wedneday to Thursday, where new technologies and collaborative initiatives to protect national critical infrastructure from global hacking and cyber espionage were showcased.

More than 2,500 delegates attended the event, which featured contributions from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Britain’s ‘listening post’ GCHQ, the US National Security Agency, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, the Australian ‘Protect, Assure & Enable’ and New Zealand’s      National Cyber Security Centre.

NCSC CEO Ciaran Martin said: “Cyber security is an international team sport, and we are delighted to host allies from around the world in this public way to discuss how we best defend from common adversaries.

“Cyber attacks do not respect international boundaries, and many of the threats and vulnerabilities we face are shared around the globe.

“Each nation has sovereignty to defend itself as it sees best fit, but it’s vital that we work closely with our allies to make the world as safe as possible.”

The NCSC welcomed specialists from across government, industry and law enforcement to the summit, which included speeches from GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming and Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington.

The overriding theme of CYBERUK 2019 was around developing and communicating good cyber security to the citizen and helping to make the technology they buy more secure by default.

The conference will see a series of lectures, keynotes, panel debates and interactive workshops delivered around the NCSC’s core objectives of nurturing cyber skills and understanding, reducing and responding to attacks.

The event was made up of six streams focusing on:

  • Collaborating Securely
  • System Modelling & AI
  • Countering the Adversary
  • Resilience and Resisting Attack
  • Safety and Cyber Security 
  • Growing Cyber in the UK

The event also featured a contribution from Scotland’s Digital Minister, Kate Forbes.

Jeremy Fleming, Director of GCHQ and a former Mi5 Deputy Director, paid tribute to Scotland’s strengths in the fields of national security.

He said: “Three of GCHQ’s Directors have come from Scotland. Our first – and longest-serving – Director, Alistair Denniston, distinguished himself by playing hockey for Scotland, even winning a medal at the 1908 Olympic Games.

“Scots were behind the founding of what we now call signals intelligence in the days when our principal targets were German or Soviet, and we were all using shortwave radio.

“And we had a presence all over Scotland: from Kilmuir on Skye to Unst and Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, and along the East Coast, from Wick to Cupar.”