As Head of the UK’s Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism for the last five years, Thomas Hurd was the most senior official in the UK government for Homeland Security, involved in leading cross-government work countering state threats, cybercrime and security, disinformation, money laundering, online harms, child sexual exploitation and terrorism. He was directly responsible for the UK’s overall approach to Counter-Terrorism. He recently set up the UK Joint Biosecurity Centre and is a global authority on cyber security.
Thomas Hurd has overseen the domestic operations of the intelligence agencies, CT Police and the National Crime Agency and played a leading role internationally on domestic security issues, especially within the Five Eyes community.
He was instrumental in helping create the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism which has led social media companies to automatically remove tens of millions of terrorist content from the internet. Hurd was asked in mid-2020 to set up from scratch, the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre, a data-led organisation that brought data science and public health expertise together in one place to spot earlier and more accurately outbreaks of COVID-19 in the UK and then advise the UK government and local authorities how best to respond. Hurd also led the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s work to define and set COVID-19 national alert levels for the UK. He has remained involved in health security helping ensure the security of the UK’s vaccine supply chain. Hurd has previously served as Head of UK intelligence analysis as well as produced the UK’s equivalent of the Presidential Daily Brief for the UK’s Prime Minister.
He chaired, in 2018, the first COBRA meeting in response to the Russian chemical weapon attack in Salisbury and then led elements of the domestic response. He studied Arabic at Oxford University and spent much of his career in postings in the Middle East – which included serving in Afghanistan – and senior leadership positions in government focused on conflict resolution in the region, in particular in Iraq, on Israeli-Palestinian issues. He was appointed OBE by Her Majesty in 2011 and CB in 2020 for his services to national security.
Hurd advises clients on how to use data to improve their approach to risk management and analysis. He is in the process of starting up a network intelligence company that will identify and rank the best thinkers in AI/Quantum and Cyber Security – while he remains highly engaged and active in these above-mentioned fields.
- 00:16 – Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
- 01:04 – You were recently Head of the UK’s Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism. Have you noticed any new trends or type of attacks online?
- 02:07 – In the UK’s approach to security, you initiated unique relationships between government, academia, and private corporations. Why?
- 03:14 – You created, from scratch, the UK’s joint Biosecurity Centre. What did you learn from this experience?
- 04:17 – What is next for you?