COMPANIES are to be targeted in the first summit of its kind to combat the menace of cyber crime, 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 all 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.
The summit will warn small businesses of the risk they face from cyber crime
Gary Ritchie, Assistant Director of Scottish Business 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.
“Cyber crime 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%.
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 & 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.
Gary 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 notoriously 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.”
Scottish Enterprise project manager, Ross White, said: “Cybercrime is a dynamic, rapidly evolving threat estimated to cost the UK economy up to £27 billion each year. Scotland has a number of companies with highly innovative technologies and services which can help combat this threat in a range of areas, and during the e-Crime summit, we will broker a series of pre-arranged meetings to explore ways in which these companies can help further protect the financial services market.”