The National Cybercrime Programme has announced that every business and organisation in the Cumbria region can now get access to a free tool called Police CyberAlarm – designed to help them understand and monitor the threats they face from malicious cyber activity.
Funded by Government, Police CyberAlarm acts as like ‘CCTV camera’ monitoring the traffic seen by a businesses’ connection to the internet. It will detect and provide regular reports of suspected malicious activity, enabling a business to take steps to improve their cyber resilience.
Once a business or organisation becomes a Police CyberAlarm member, they will need to install the ‘CyberAlarm Virtual Server’ which will then collect and process traffic logs identifying suspicious activity from the firewall. Police CyberAlarm does not see any of the content of any network traffic it monitors the logs relating to the traffic to identify suspicious activity. It is designed to protect personal data, trade secrets and intellectual property.
As a Police CyberAlarm member, they will benefit from regular reports detailing suspicious and potentially
malicious attack activity on their firewall/internet gateway. It will show them how they are being attacked, and where from so they can improve their cyber resilience. It will also help law enforcement identify current threats and take enforcement action against cyber criminals.
Police CyberAlarm can benefit any business with a computer network including SMEs, organisations, public and private sector, charities, education establishments and local government.
DC Jon Hill of Cumbria Constabulary’s Cyber & Digital Crime Unit (CDCU), has previously spoken to the Chamber about cyber crime, and confirmed the software only monitors incoming traffic, so their no issue around it looking at private data security.
He said: “The threat of cyber-attacks against businesses are increasing and police and industry need to work together to combat this threat. Police CyberAlarm is a great example of what can be achieved when policing and private industry work together.
“We know that the average cost of a cyber-attack to a small business is around £11,000 and we know that there are thousands of successful attacks every day. Cyber Security should be a priority for every single business no matter how big or small that business is. This is a police led project which businesses can trust. There is no catch to signing up, it is being offered for free and we want to get as many businesses across Cumbria involved.
“The more members we have, the more data we get which will provide law enforcement with a much richer intelligence picture about the current and emerging threats businesses are facing. The data will also be presented back to members in the form of regular reports to help them take steps to improve their cyber security. I would urge businesses to sign up and take advantage of all Police CyberAlarm has to offer.”
Businesses can sign up on the cyberalarm.police.uk/#join website. They will then receive a unique code which once added to the website will provide access to full instructions and how to install Police CyberAlarm.
Suzanne Caldwell, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce Managing Director, believes it’s vital that businesses ensure their software is as secure as possible, and said: “Businesses that adhere to good practice can reduce their chances of falling victim to cyber-crime by up to 80 per cent.
“This is a real issue, especially as a large number of people have seen a change in their working pattern and an increase in use of IT solutions due to the Covid-19 global pandemic lockdown. The British Chambers of Commerce estimates that one in five businesses have been affected by cyber-crime in the last 12 months.
“We’ve also seen research that suggests half of all crime is now cyber-related.
“It is crucial that businesses aren’t caught off-guard, especially with good free and pro-active alarm software provided by the police. Even large and tech-savvy organisations, like the government and the Williams Racing F1 team, have recently been hit by cyber attacks.
“The University of Strathclyde’s recent study on cyber-crime – such as ‘phishing’ – highlights the increasing danger posed by fraudsters seeking to exploit the current unique circumstance we’re in.”