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We regularly discuss the threats to businesses from the online world, and offer our expert advice about the steps firms can take to protect themselves. But despite various awareness campaigns about the threat of cybercrime, it remains a taboo subject for many firms.
Admitting to being a victim can be seen as having a negative effect as it raises fears that customers, clients and partners will lose confidence in a business. But we at PAV i.t. are urging firms to share their experiences of cybercrime so they can help each other. Our call comes as the government announces where its £1.9bn spending boost to national cyber security will be spent.
Here, we look at the government plans and discuss why we think it's good for companies to talk.
The government has allocated a whopping £1.9bn on bolstering the country's cyber security and this month chancellor Phillip Hammond announced where the money would be spent.
Among the plans is a recruitment drive to hire 50 specialists who will work at the National Crime Agency's dedicated cybercrime unit. The new workforce will help crackdown on organised gangs and make it harder and costlier for them to engage in cybercrime.
Funding will also be allocated to train professionals to become cyber security experts, to bolster the number of people working to tackle online threats, and to set up an innovation fund that newly founded security-based firms can get help from.
The government strategy, which sets out its cyber defence plan until 2020, also includes the establishment of a Cyber Security Research Institute – a network of academics that will work together to improve the security and defences of portable devices, including laptops, tablets and mobile phones. We are calling for a forum, similar to the proposed Institute, to be established specifically for businesses to share their experience of cybercrime.
We are urging firms to talk to one another about the cyberattacks they have suffered but understand the sensitivity of discussing such a subject. We believe a business network, available only to members, where firms could discuss among themselves the experiences they've had would be hugely beneficial.
Cybercriminals and the processes they use are constantly evolving and defence systems need to reflect this. An online forum would provide up to date, on-topic discussion points so companies can learn about the latest scams, techniques and procedures fraudsters are using, so they can stay wise to them should they find themselves being targeted.
Being open about the experiences they've had in an environment free of criticism would also allow companies to learn about the very real threat cybercrime poses. From this they can take steps to help bolster their security and ultimately reduce the likelihood of an attack.
The government's £1.9bn plan comes after the Home Office launched its cyber aware campaign, which aimed to increase awareness about staying safe online. This included advice such as using 'phrase based' passwords and keeping software secure by downloading the latest updates.
While this has no doubt been helpful not enough information is getting through to companies – or their employees – and more needs to be done to drive greater knowledge about the tactics criminals are using.
An online forum would allow firms to share information and best practice – all of which can be passed on to staff who can often be the main target for online criminals, especially if they use tactics such as phishing and vishing (fraudulent emails and phone calls that appear to come from trusted sources).
Understanding the threat and getting the basics right – educating staff, using strong passwords, updating software and having contingency plans in place – is the first step on the road to cyber security.
If you would like to know more about how to protect your firm from cybercrime, and how PAV i.t. can help, call us on 01273 834 000 or complete our enquiry form.