National Fraud Intelligence Bureau figures show that more than £1.8 billion was lost to fraud and cybercrime in London over the last year.
By: Shubham Ghosh
Businesses in London have been urged to join a new scheme which was launched on Tuesday (25) to protect them from the growing threat of cybercrime. The new measure was facilitated by funding from mayor Sadiq Khan who wants to make London the world’s safest city to do business online.
Figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau have shown that more than £1.8 billion were lost to fraud and cybercrime in the national capital over the last year with 35 per cent of small and micro businesses facing at least one attack or breach, which is equal to around 250,000 businesses.
The new Cyber Resilience Centre (CRC) features industry experts who will work with the city’s three police forces — Met Police, City of London Police, and British Transport Police — to enable it to support London’s small-and-medium businesses and help them prepare against cyberattacks and extend support when they have been targeted, the mayor’s press office said.
Industry leaders have warned in the wake of growing strikes against London’s businesses through phishing, hacking, and ransomware attacks that every organisation and business is a potential target and loss of funds often causes big damage to small- and medium-scale ventures.
Over the three years, the centre aims to support around 20,000 businesses in the city that are most vulnerable to attacks, and providing small-business owners with practical online safety advice, and face-to-face visits.
The mayor is also investing £200,000 to support the centre’s community outreach programme, which includes development of self-help toolkits for businesses and ‘How-To’ video guides on improving their resilience against cyberattacks.
The CRCs receive an annual grant from the home office to carry out their safety missions against cyber crime.
The businesses will be able to sign up for a free London CRC membership online and get instant access to safety advice; monthly cyber threat reports from the National Cyber Security Centre; latest guidance from the Met Police and City of London Police’s dedicated teams and a monthly newsletter with hints and tips on improving cyber resilience.
They can also contact the cyber resilience team with urgent questions and receive training for their staff members.
London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime Sophie Linden launched the new CRC at an event at City Hall which was attended by business owners.
“Far too many small businesses in the capital are impacted by cybercrime, with billions of pounds lost and thousands of lives impacted each year,” she said.
“Our new Cyber Resilience Centre will help businesses stay safe online and protect them from cyber criminals. This is all part of our work to build a safer, more prosperous city for everyone and I urge all businesses in London to sign-up and use the centre’s services.”
Simon Newman, CEO of the CRC for London, said: “I’m delighted to be bringing the launch of the Cyber Resilience Centre for London to City Hall. We’ve been generously supported by the mayor’s office for policing and crime, and it’s fantastic to be able to celebrate our shared vision together.
“I’m really ambitious about the future of the CRC for London. I want to see it grow as a partnership between policing, industry and academia; for us to be seen as a trusted, reliable partner to the Capital’s SME community; and for our Cyber PATH programme to produce consistently high-quality talent. In 10 years’ time, I want to look back and be able to say that we have helped make London the safest city in the world to do business online.”
Metropolitan Police commander Catherine Roper, said, “It is essential that we come together to help London businesses protect themselves against cybercrime. This crime type is rapidly increasing, and often initially unseen, and yet has devastating effects on businesses and individuals. The exciting launch of the new Cyber Resilience Centre supports a collaboration between key partners to support small and medium businesses across London from becoming victims to cyber attacks.
“It also provides the vital platform to share best practice; knowledge and practical operational advice to ensure a strong defence to protect and prepare businesses from cybercrime. The Met is committed, with its partners, to do everything it can to tackle cybercrime – and today is a significant step forward.”
James Thomson, chair of the City of London Police Authority Board, said, “We must ensure that the City and the wider national economy is one of the safest places to do business in the world. The London Cyber Resilience Centre will do just that – protecting the capital’s businesses and their customers, and helping to deliver a thriving economy.
“Becoming a victim of cybercrime ruins lives, whether it’s individuals or businesses that are the target and this is an enormous opportunity to make a difference, by preventing people from becoming victims in the first place.”
Chris Ulliott, chief information security officer at NatWest, said, “NatWest is proud to be an ambassador for the National Cyber Resilience Centre Group and are delighted to support the opening of London’s new Cyber Resilience Centre. The centre is working to help the capital’s business community build resilience against the very real threat of cybercrime.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are a fundamental part of the economy. As such it’s really important that these businesses are equipped with the best tools and knowledge to conduct their day-to-day business safely and securely online, which is a key priority of the mayor of London, and we are very happy to help them do that.”