For most cyber criminals launching an attack, a national border is of little interest. The top concerns for most of those behind cyber hacks are quick cash and maximum disruption. They launch their pernicious endeavours at any point of vulnerability they can find. If a business’ network is weak, that business will be infiltrated, regardless of their home country.
Cyber crime is international, as are our capabilities, so we are taking our cyber security division across the Atlantic to North America. While we are a proudly British company – enmeshed in the country’s internet infrastructure and responsible for keeping millions of people and businesses online securely – cyber security is a challenge for the world. Nominet has a platform, NTX, that is proven in helping monitor and protect a crucial and yet too-often overlooked area of vulnerability – the domain name system (DNS). We want to share it beyond our national borders.
Whether organisations realise it or not, the DNS is a fundamental protocol to almost everything they do. Every email, every touchpoint within the IoT, and every single outbound contact with the internet is reliant on DNS. This makes it powerful, to both the business and the criminal. Unless secured, it serves as an open back door for those who want access to a company for illicit purposes.
At Nominet, DNS analytics and monitoring have longed formed the heart of our cyber security efforts and help us to secure the .UK domain. While our expertise is world class, our success rate is simply unbeatable – 100% up time in the 22 years we have run the .UK domain, despite attacks. A generation of expertise has gone into developing our cyber defence technology, which is now deployed by organisations across the world. One of our most prominent partnerships is with the UK Government, for whom we run a protective DNS contract for the public services network, in conjunction with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
This partnership is a source of pride for our team, not to mention a huge undertaking in terms of expertise. In 2017, we analysed 3TB of data across the public sector, and blocked 2.5 million malicious requests across these networks. The significance of what we do can’t be overstated, protecting our nation at the highest level, and the NCSC has spoken of the key part our work plays in their digital security strategy.
And so now to North America. Our technology is proven here in the UK to predict, detect and block cybersecurity risks at the DNS level, so we are now investing in reaching another market facing the same challenges – writ large. The US cyber market is five times the size of the UK, and our NTX platform can help the security teams meet the same challenges we face here in Britain. There is no value to be gained in guarding our secrets when we live in a world of a borderless internet and international challenges.
For Nominet, there is perhaps an additional motive for expanding into the international cyber security market: it can help us increase the support we give to tech for good initiatives. Nominet is a profit with a purpose company, and our revenues are used to fund tech for good initiatives that help reduce digital exclusion and ensure all of society can take part in the digital revolution. We have donated over £45m to date, and our ambition is to improve the lives of one million people by 2020.
We’re trying to emulate the achievements of a string of British success stories Stateside. Think of The Beatles; those long-haired Liverpudlians are a distinctively British band but were adopted by the world. Hopefully Nominet can be the latest welcome export in the list of great British products treated with shared enthusiasm, although we aren’t looking to invade the charts. The only hits we want to make are against the cyber criminals.