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The National Cyber Crime Programme has announced a government-funded support package designed to help UK businesses protect themselves against cyber security threats, rolling out a number of Cyber Resilience Centres (CRCs) across the country, and launching Police CyberAlarm, a free-to-use tool to help businesses spot malicious activity.
Modelled on the successful work of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, CRCs are described as an “innovative partnership” between the UK’s police forces, the private sector, and academia. The plan is to locate a CRC in each region of the country, creating a national network of facilities to help smaller businesses and organisations access security and consultancy services – provided by tech students – quickly and cheaply.
Each regional CRC will work with local businesses to raise awareness of security threats and provide tools and services to help them address their vulnerabilities. Each will have a dedicated police lead, who will work alongside Business Resilience International Management (BRIM), whose founder and CEO Mandy Haeburn-Little developed and led the Scottish project.
Centres in Greater Manchester, the North East (including Yorkshire and Humberside), and the East and West Midlands have already launched, with two more set to go live in the South East and Wales imminently.
Haeburn-Little said: “This is a fundamental and very positive step by policing, and it represents a new era for cyber crime prevention where policing will work hand-in-hand with the private sector in the alignment of cyber strategies.
“This fulfils so many objectives together from supporting emerging student skills, delivery of policing cyber crime objectives, support for all sectors of business and the focus for much needed assistance towards economic growth for business.
“It is a one-stop shop for cyber resilience, which we have worked very hard to develop with NPCC [the National Police Chiefs’ Council] and the support of the Home Office,” she said.
Chief constable Peter Goodman, who leads on cyber crime for the NPCC, added: “This additional support for business couldn’t have come at a more critical time. With so many more people working remotely at the moment, the threat to business has increased significantly.
“We know that many smaller businesses simply don’t have the budget or the in-house expertise to adequately protect themselves against an attack. These two innovative projects demonstrate how law enforcement and industry can work together to provide affordable services that businesses of all sizes can access.
“The Team Cyber UK network continues to grow in numbers and capability with dedicated cyber crime specialists now embedded in every police force in England and Wales, in every Regional Organised Crime Unit, and at a national and international level,” he added.
“The Protect network is already doing some fantastic work to help businesses protect themselves at a local level, and this additional package of support will further strengthen the partnership between law enforcement and business in the fight against cyber crime,” said Goodman.
The CyberAlarm project, meanwhile, which was first developed in Northamptonshire, is being launched in four regions for now, as well as with the British Transport Police. The service supposedly acts as a “CCTV camera” to monitor traffic identified as suspicious on a member’s internet connection at their firewall.
It is designed to not only detect and provide regular reports of possible malicious activity to its users, but to help police forces better understand the current cyber crime landscape in the UK, and target their resources where they are most needed. CyberAlarm will be offered for free for the duration of the pilot.
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