Police-backed cyber resilience centres to support small firms amid threat surge

Police-backed Cyber Resilience Centres are set to expand across the country amid growing threats to vulnerable businesses.

The risk to smaller firms is even greater during the coronavirus outbreak, as bad actors turn their attention to lucrative multibillion-pound online crime.

Cyber Resilience Centres, which first started in Scotland, are regional hubs supported by police forces, working with the private sector and university students.

By the end of the year a number of hubs are expected to be open across the UK, including Greater Manchester, East Midlands, West Midlands, South East, South West and the East, as well as Wales.

Police CyberAlarm, a tool that is able to monitor web traffic for malicious activity is also due to launch, which companies can request on their computer system and help police cyber teams detect emerging threats.

Peter Goodman, Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, told the PA news agency cyber crime is still “massively under reported” and that the issue is a “core part of policing business now” compared to 10 or 20 years ago.

“It’s a huge, huge threat to the UK economy, especially when it’s fragile coming out of Covid as well, so it’s really important,” he said.

“More people are now victims of crime online than offline, we know that online fraud and cybercrime attacks are the fastest growing criminality that’s out there, and actually Covid-19’s increased the rate of change because we’ve seen that many traditional criminals who can’t do their normal drug roots or firearms roots have started to use cyber crime as a means of business which has proved very profitable for them.”