Government joins the fight against cyber crime

Cyber-crime is on the increase, with hardly a day going by without a story in the news of a large company falling victim to a cyber breach. The UK is one of the most digitally dependent economies in the world and is estimated to be worth over £118bn per year. In response to the growing threat of cyber-crime the government has launched its strongest initiative yet.

The queen recently opened The National Cyber Security Centre in Victoria, Central London which has been created to protect the UK from cyberattacks. The Centre is part of intelligence agency GCHQ and started work in October as part of a £1.9bn five year strategy. The government has enlisted the help of experts from the private sector to try to identify the threats, with NCSC Chief Ciaran Martin claiming  “We want to make the UK the hardest target” There were 188 cyber-attacks in the UK classed by the NCSC as Category Two or Three during the last three months. Even though the UK has not experienced a Category One attack – the highest level, an example of which would have been the theft of confidential details of millions of Americans from the Office of Personnel Management – there is no air of complacency at the NCSC’s new headquarters.

As well as the tangible losses faced by businesses in the UK and the threat to infrastructures, there is also the worry that consumers will lose confidence in the digital economy as criminals exploit online vulnerabilities. As small business owners we all need to play our part to protect ourselves and the wider business community.

What can I do to protect my business and clients?

The important thing is to engage with us, we can carry out a full review of your current arrangements and help you assess your current cyber risk.

Insurers are investing heavily in training and technology to keep pace with the changing risks and are providing a wealth of useful help and guidance on how to minimise cyber risk. We have access to these resources and can help you to create and implement a plan within your business.

What risks do I need to consider?

It is easy to focus on the obvious areas of cyber vulnerability such as client data held on servers, or data collected during online payments. One area of increasing worry is mobile phones.

With mobile phones having advanced capabilities and peoples relatively lax approach to security they are becoming an attractive target for attackers.

“Insurers are investing heavily in training and technology to keep pace with the changing risks and are providing a wealth of useful help and guidance on how to minimise cyber risk.”

What steps can I take to protect my mobile phone?

There are a large number of things that can help. Here are just a few;

  • When choosing a mobile phone consider its security features. Can it encrypt? Can the provider remotely wipe the device? Can you remotely delete apps? What authentication features does it have such as passwords?
  • Limit exposure of your mobile phone number; think carefully before posting your mobile phone number to a public website. Attackers can use software to collect mobile phone numbers from the web and then use those numbers to target attacks.
  • Carefully consider what information you want stored on the device. Remember that with enough time, sophistication, and access to the device, any attacker could obtain your stored information.
  • Set Bluetooth-enabled devices to non-discoverable. When in discoverable mode, your Bluetooth enabled devices are visible to other nearby devices, which may alert an attacker or infected device to target you. When in non-discoverable mode, your Bluetooth-enabled devices are invisible to other unauthenticated devices.

Our advice to you is to make sure you are fully aware of the risks that a cyber-attack could present to your business. We can help you to carry out a full risk assessment. Contact us today for this or any help or advice regarding your cyber-insurance arrangements.