Business battles cybercrime in Borders

BORDERS busineses are to be targeted in the first summit of its kind to combat the menace of cybercrime which is costing Scottish businesses an estimated £5 billion a year.

The e-Crime Scotland Summit will reveal how cybercrime is a constant and real threat for Scottish Border businesses and will outline key steps they can take to reduce their vulnerability and exposure to risks.

e-Crime Scotland is hoping the summit – which has been supported by RBS and Scottish Enterprise - will allow it to match the successes achieved by the pioneering work of E-Crime Wales who have made significant inroads in tackling the cyber criminal.

Gary Ritchie, assistant director of Scottish Borders Crime Centre, said: “With the many benefits that accompany the latest developments in technology, sadly there also evolves new and potentially devastating criminal interests in this area.

“Cybercrime is not a fad. It is a clear and present danger for all businesses, regardless of size or sector. We estimate that Scots businesses are losing around £5bn a year to cyber criminals. That is an enormous amount that should concern every business boss and employee in Scotland. But the reality is that much of the threat of e-crime can be eradicated by simple and inexpensive measures.

“The key is for businesses to not think this is a techy issue or some evolving trend that won’t involve them, but to put in place the measures to stop the threats.”

One of the most common risks faced by businesses is poor IT security which potentially allows criminals to raid contacts, steal identities and infiltrate bank accounts. But a report by UK Government Communications HQ said that by having up to date anti-virus software and firewalls in place, businesses could reduce their risk of online crime by 80 per cent.

e-Crime Scotland has been developed through the Scottish Financial Crime Group and is working with key partners in the Scottish Business Crime Centre, Scottish Law Enforcement, Scottish Government and the wider business community who are all committed to equipping Scottish businesses with the knowledge and tools to be aware, vigilant, informed and ultimately safe from the destructive effects of e-Crime in all its forms.

The E-Crime Scotland Summit brings together the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, the eight Scottish police forces, specialist public sector organisations and expert commercial businesses to share and distribute the knowledge and intelligence vital for Scottish businesses to conduct business online safely and securely. The Summit will feature a full day of presentations and networking opportunities and will feature a number of keynote speakers from Scottish Government and senior police officers who are expected to reveal new policing tactics being planned to combat e-Crime.

Mr Ritchie said the Summit has been specifically targeted at small to medium sized enterprise SME’s and he urged business owners in this sector to attend.

He added: “We’ve found that larger businesses continue to develop research and refine their response to the threat of e-Crime, but the smaller businesses can sometimes fall behind in the fight against on-line attack.

“This leaves them as viable targets for the online criminal as they may have a lack of cyber confidence, be unaware of where to direct concerns and, ultimately, what they need to do to become more secure.

“The digital landscape is constantly evolving and with unseen attackers able to strike at victims from hundreds or even thousands of miles away e-crime can be very difficult to detect. Potential cyber attackers respect no geographical boundaries so it is vital businesses protect their networks before they put the security of the company and staff at risk.”

Gordon Merrylees, managing director of Business Banking at RBS said: “Small and medium sized businesses are the life blood of the economy and we are focussing our efforts on providing the support they need to prosper. Managing risk is a critical part of running a business, large or small, and we’re delighted to be joining forces with the SBCC to provide SMEs with the expertise, guidance and insight to help protect them from cyber-crime.”

The Summit marks a major step forward for e-Crime Scotland in its battle against cyber crime – its website www.ecrimescotland.org.uk outlines a range of advice and measures, including a series of downloadable guides on all areas of e-Crime.

Registrations are now being accepted for the Summit which is taking place at RBS HQ at Gogarburn on May 22. The costs are £25 for Scottish Business Crime Centre members or £40 for non-members. To book contact events@sbcc.org.uk.