Cyberwarfare / Nation-State Attacks , DDoS Protection , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

'Five Eyes' Intelligence Members to Detail Cyber Threats

For First Time, Secretive Alliance Group to Talk Together in Public
'Five Eyes' Intelligence Members to Detail Cyber Threats
Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Center, the public-facing arm of GCHQ

For the first time, members of the secretive "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing group are set to make a joint public appearance to discuss how they work together.

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Created in 1941, the Five Eyes alliance sees Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and U.S. share signals, military and human intelligence.

At this week's CyberUK conference in Glasgow, Scotland, members of intelligence agencies from all five countries are set to appear on stage to discuss common global cyber problems, including election security and retaining qualified personnel. They're also expected to share details about how they work together, including joint approaches to incident management, data sharing and attack attribution.

"The U.K. is one of the leading cyber powers in the world - but this is a global threat that needs a global response," says Jeremy Hunt, foreign secretary in the conservative British government led by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Speakers at the conference are due to include GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming and Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington.

The annual conference runs from Wednesday to Thursday at Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition Center. Organizers expect to see 2,500 attendees.

"Cybersecurity 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," says Ciaran Martin, CEO of Britain's National Cyber Security Center. NCSC is the public-facing part of GCHQ, based in Cheltenham, England, which is the U.K.'s signals intelligence agency (see: UK Stands Up GCHQ National Cyber Security Center in London).

"Cyberattacks do not respect international boundaries, and many of the threats and vulnerabilities we face are shared around the globe," Martin said. "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."

CyberUK features tracks devoted to collaborating securely; system modeling and artificial intelligence; countering adversaries; resilience and resisting attacks; safety and cybersecurity; as well as improving cybersecurity in the U.K. Numerous vendors will also be demonstrating products and briefing customers.

Intelligence Sharing

GCHQ, together with the Security Service, aka MI5, and Secret Intelligence Service, aka MI6, are some of the British agencies that feed into Five Eyes.

In the U.S., participating Five Eyes agencies include the FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency as well as the National Security Agency.

Rob Joyce, an NSA cybersecurity adviser, is due to represent the agency on Wednesday during a Five Eyes panel that will discuss common challenges, goals and cross-country collaboration (see NSA Pitches Free Reverse-Engineering Tool Called Ghidra).

NSA Pitches Free Reverse-Engineering Tool Called Ghidra
Rob Joyce of the National Security Agency unveils Ghidra at RSA Conference 2019 in San Francisco on March 5, 2019. (Photo: Mathew Schwartz)

The Five Eyes panel session will be moderated by Yasmin Brooks, the director of cyber at the U.K.'s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Joyce will to appear alongside Ciaran Martin, CEO of the NCSC; Scott Jones, head of the Canadian Center for Cyber Security; Scott McLeod, Australia's first assistant director-general protect, assure & enable; and Jan Thornborough, unit manager for outreach and engagement at New Zealand's National Cyber Security Center.


Editor's note: See Intelligence Agencies Seek Fast Cyber Threat Dissemination for an update to this story.

About the Author

Mathew J. Schwartz

Mathew J. Schwartz

Executive Editor, DataBreachToday & Europe, ISMG

Schwartz is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in magazines, newspapers and electronic media. He has covered the information security and privacy sector throughout his career. Before joining Information Security Media Group in 2014, where he now serves as the executive editor, DataBreachToday and for European news coverage, Schwartz was the information security beat reporter for InformationWeek and a frequent contributor to DarkReading, among other publications. He lives in Scotland.

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