Helping out in the e-crime fight

SWIFT work was carried out at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre yesterday after The National pointed out that parts of the website for the self-styled “hub of innovation and business improvement” were not working.

We explored the site after the SBRC urged Scots to make one “simple change” in their computer usage to help reduce the impact of cyber-attacks. It said patching – installing updates to operating systems to keep them up to date – reduced the ability of e-criminals to hack computers and steal money, sabotage operations or share personal information.

However, a widget on the site, which relayed SBRC tweets, had repeated one message more than 20 times and, when we tried to sign up for regular alerts we could not progress past stage three of ten.

A few hours later, things were back to normal and a spokesperson for SBRC said: “We are always grateful for feedback, especially if it relates to website issues.

“Many companies have been able to register for the Business Alerts in the past without issue. But in any case, the website offers other means for companies to sign up for alerts.”

SBRC has been tasked with delivering a cyber-resilience strategy to help businesses and the public combat e-crime.

Director Mandy Haeburn-Little said: “Updating your computer – or patching – is the one small thing everyone in Scotland could do to help in the fight against cybercrime. When hackers typically search for the next potential system to infiltrate they will cast a very wide net.

“If your system is, at the very least up-to-date, that will do a great deal to deter the would-be hacker from exploring weaknesses further. Think of it in the same way as having an alarm outside your house or the previous practice of having a steering wheel lock on your car.”

She added that the advice from SBRC was to set your computer to automatically install updates and check regularly that it had been done.

Detective Superintendent Steven Wilson, of Police Scotland’s specialist crime division, said patching and ensuring you had anti-virus software, strong passwords and avoided opening unknown attachments, could protect against much of the online threat.

He added: “These simple steps will protect individuals and businesses against the vast majority of threats on the internet. If people heed them, we all will be much safer online.”

SBRC’s advice came as consultation ended on the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience Strategy for Scotland: Safe, Secure and Prosperous Online – which has been seeking views on how Scotland can be even more resilient against cyber-attacks and crime.

In a tie-up with SBRC, students on placement from Abertay University’s Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures course were providing crucial, affordable services to protect companies – particularly small firms – from discontented or careless staff and criminals.

Forensic students from Glasgow Caledonian University are also helping the SBRC develop an app for businesses to support SME’s across Scotland.

Meanwhile, another initiative was launched in West Lothian aimed at offering practical advice on how to use the internet safely and securely.

A host of international organisations are joining forces with Police Scotland to help support the launch of a cyber-safety initiative in West Lothian this week.

Cyber Keep Safe is targeting three core groups – youngsters aged 11-14, senior citizens and businesses.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said: “As people continue to ask more and more questions about online safety, it’s important that the right information is easily available. It is vital that we share our advice as widely as we can.”

, not just through our website but where possible face-to-face.”


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