Over 60 businesses attended a seminar focussing on cybercrime which took place this morning at the Holiday Inn Stevenage.

The event, hosted by Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioners Community Fund, aimed to provide businesses with the skills and knowledge to reduce the risks, prevent loss, educate and protect their organisations from cyber attacks and online fraud.

The event was opened by David Lloyd, Hertfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner who said:

“Cybercrime is a growing threat that we all need to be aware of, and always try to be one step ahead of the criminals who exploit the internet to cause harm.

 “Dealing with cybercrime is one of the big issues facing businesses today, as well as affecting the wider public in all manner of ways from cyber bullying to fraud, and that is why I asked Hertfordshire Constabulary to set up a dedicated Cybercrime and Financial Investigation Unit.  This team, garnering technical expertise, is making excellent inroads tracking down cyber criminals but we also need to concentrate on prevention and protection.

 “Last week I launched a consultation for my Business Crime Strategy for Hertfordshire in which I call upon the county’s authorities and representative groups, as well as businesses themselves, to work together to prevent and tackle crime.

 “I hope that addressing the Chamber of Commerce today will lead to both a greater understanding of the problem and increased partnership working, which is the key to success.”

William Davies from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office demonstrated how easy it was to be able to trace locations of people and personal details just from a tweet and emphasised that sometimes the biggest threat came from inside the organisation from staff not made aware of security protocol and offboarding procedures.  

Tony Richardson from Octree highlighted that many legitimate websites have been compromised to deliver malware to unsuspecting surfers and sites that host advertising banners are also finding that their automated systems for processing such adverts are susceptible to malvertising being put up on websites, with the same effect.

 Stephanie Frankish & Julie Lloyd from the Crime Reduction and Community Safety Unit informed businesses about the Cyber Essentials scheme, which was launched by the Government in 2014 to provide all businesses with the basic cyber security standard.

They also gave these great tips to creating a security plan:

•       Audit: Identify assets and information that need to be protected, review the threats and risks. Make a prioritised list of items to protect.

•       Plan: Write/develop procedures and policies, identify responsibilities and agree a timetable for implementation.

•       Execute: Communicate with staff, train where necessary. Implement the plan.

•       Monitor: Scan for new threats.  Update and modify the plan as changes occur in personnel, hardware or software.  Carry out ongoing maintenance such as backups or anti-virus updates.

•       Repeat: Review and update plan at appropriate intervals or when your business goes through significant changes.

Peter Smits, Managing Director at Ashbourne Insurance explained the financial risks that face businesses if not protected and reminded businesses that cyber crime is an insurable risk but to check the small print on any policy for the level of cover provided.  

Yolanda Rugg, Herts Chamber CEO commented:

"This event evidenced the need for our members and wider community to be fully up to speed with the current types of attacks and threats, and how to better protect themselves, as over 74% of SME’s and 93% of large businesses reported a cyber breach last year. Businesses need to protect their data and systems, and the organisations who they do business with and need to make it everybody’s business by fully training all staff in prevention.

 Further information can be found using the links below:

•       Cyber Essentials www.cyberstreetwise.com/cyberessentials/

•       All you need to know about Cyber security www.gov.uk/government/publications/

•       Free on-line information & security courses www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/sme/

•       Cyber incident response services www.cesg.gov.uk & www.cpni.gov.uk

•       Cyber security innovation vouchers https://vouchers.innovateuk.org/cyber-security