SCOTTISH businesses are being encouraged to lock forces to combat the menace of cyber crime – and in turn develop global-leading expertise that will create opportunities to significantly boost the country’s economic fortunes.
The call comes as police, legislators, industry experts and academics join forces to mount the most co-ordinated campaign ever launched inScotlandto tackle e-crime, which is estimated to cost £5bn a year.
And it comes ahead of the eCrime Scotland Summit, a major conference inEdinburghthat aims to share and distribute knowledge and intelligence vital for Scottish companies to conduct business online, safely and securely.
The renewed focus follows the creation of the Cyber Resilience Group, a key division of the Scottish Business Crime Centre, which has been appointed by the Scottish Government to drive forward the cyber security crackdown inScotlandin the SME sector.
This group is being headed by Detective Superintendent Steven Wilson, Head of e Crime, Specialist Crime Division, Police Service of Scotland, and it will work closely with keyUKand International partners.
DS Wilson will have the responsibility of co-ordinating the cyber security expertise of the Police Service of Scotland resources and linking with universities and the business community. His appointment – the most senior to be made in this field – is being seen as clearest sign yet of the determination to counter e-crime inScotland.
DS Wilson said: “Businesses must not fall into the trap of thinking cyber crime is the stuff of science fiction – and would never involve them.
“E-Crime is a clear and present danger for all businesses, regardless of size or sector.
“But for the first time,Scotlandis mounting a truly co-ordinated campaign involving police, industry experts and academics to tackle this threat.
“However, not only can this unified approach play a part in helping to reduce the dangers, there is the very real prospect ofScotlandand Scottish businesses gaining a competitive advantage by developing a dynamic and potential lucrative security industry.
“Creating a cyber secureScotlandmakesScotlanda more stable economy to do business in.
“But by working closely with universities and industry experts to create cutting edge solutions to e-Crime,Scotlandcan position itself as a world leader in cyber security excellence – providing tremendous commercial opportunities for businesses.
“It really is the true embodiment of turning a threat to an opportunity.”
One in three people in theUKwas a victim of e-Crime in 2012. And with cyber crimes becoming more complex and with the UK economy increasingly going digital – nearly two-thirds of the population manage their finances online – the threat of the organised and global cyber criminal has never been greater.
One of the most common risks faced by businesses is poor IT security which potentially allows criminals to raid servers, steal identities and infiltrate bank accounts.
But businesses are being encouraged to adopt the 80:20 rule; putting in a basic 20 per cent improvement in anti-virus software and firewalls, could reduce the risk of online crime by 80 per cent.
The e-CrimeScotlandSummit- supported by RBS and Scottish Enterprise – will feature a full day of presentations on latest threats and security advice with keynote speakers from Scottish Government and industry giants Microsoft and Sophos.
DS Wilson said theSummithas been specifically targeted at SME’s and he urged business owners in this sector to attend.
He added: “The digital landscape is constantly evolving and with cyber criminal attackers able to strike unseen from hundreds or even thousands of miles away, e-crime can be notoriously difficult to detect.
“It is vital businesses protect their networks before they put the security of the company and staff at risk.”
Emma Smith, RBS Group Chief Information Security Officer, added: “RBS is delighted to host the eCrime summit for the second year in a row. We believe it is our responsibility to keep working closely with authorities, industry experts and academics to share our knowledge and expertise in this area, for the benefit of the businesses and people of Scotland.
“Working together is vital to tackling e-Crime - we are proud to be closely involved with building these partnerships, to keep our customers and their businesses safe and secure.”
Registrations are now being accepted for the Summit which is taking place at RBS HQ at Gogarburn on May 28. The costs are £25 for Scottish Business Crime Centre members or £75 for non-members. To book contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the e-Crime ScotlandSummitor to secure a series of downloadable guides on all areas of e-Crime can be found at www.ecrimescotland.org.uk or the Scottish Business Crime Centre website www.sbcc.org.uk.