The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has dealt with 1,167 incidents over the past two years – the equivalent of blocking ten attacks every week, according to the organisation's latest annual report into its activities.

The figures, which mark the second anniversary of the formation of the NCSC as a dedicated division within GCHQ, reveal that the majority of these attempted attacks originated from hostile nation states, although organised cyber criminals are also behind many incidents.

Chief executive of the NCSC Ciaran Martin commented: "We are calling out unacceptable behaviour by hostile states and giving our businesses the specific information they need to defend themselves. We are improving our critical systems. We are helping to make using the internet automatically safer."

He added that as the organisation moves into its third year, a key focus will be on ensuring that every citizen in the UK has the tools they need to protect themselves online.

As well as blocking incidents as they occur, the NCSC also takes a proactive role in identifying and removing threats before they have a chance to damage British businesses.

For example, one area the organisation has been focusing on is reducing the threats from phishing attacks. The group's Active Cyber Defence (ACD) initiative has removed 138,398 phishing sites hosted in the UK between August 2017 and September 2018, which has helped reduce the country's share of visible global phishing attacks by more than half; from 5.3 per cent to 2.4 per cent.

These included sites designed to mimic the appearance of banks, government agencies and other businesses in order to trick people into handing over their personal details.

Director of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming added that the NCSC has become a "world-leading" organisation in just two years.

He said: "Whether [it's] thwarting the growing cyber threat from hostile nation states, providing excellent incident management services to large and small businesses, or pushing the boundaries of research and innovation, the NCSC operates on the front line of efforts to keep us all safe online."

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