NSCS - cyber spies

Even cyber spies forget to change their passwords….

We worked out what we were asking every British citizen to do, was to memorise a new 600-digit number every month

– Ciaran Martin, Head of NSCS

The head of Britain’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NSCS), Ciaran Martin, admitted that even his best people would not be able to remember all of their internet passwords if they changed them all on a monthly basis (as advised by most companies).


He said that demands for regularly changing long passwords using numbers, capital, and lower case letters, meant that people were effectively being asked to memorise the equivalent of a new 600-digit number every month.

“We have got to make it easier for people to operate safely”

Mr Martin went on to make some other interesting points at yesterday’s unveiling of the new NSCS:

  • It was ‘completely pointless’ for websites to bar people from being able to copy & paste their passwords
  • Password managers should be used to improve security [note: these are programs which can encode all of a users’ passwords, using a single login].
  • The NSCS will shortly publish guidance on how to select a good password manager

About the NSCS

NSCS logo - cyber spiesThe NSCS is part of GCHQ, and will spearhead Britain’s eforts to fend off cyberattacks.


Following the step-change in breaches by Russia against the West since 2015, and especially post the US-elections in late 2016, all elements of society are potentially vulnerable and need to be vigilant about their online security.


Protecting the electoral and democratic systems were ‘up there with the top priorities’, said Mr Martin