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LDSC: Staying safe online

Source: PSE Feb/March 2018

Neil Sinclair, chief operating officer at the London Digital Security Centre (LDSC), on the ways that his organisation is combatting cybercrime across the capital by working alongside the mayor and local businesses.

Cybercrime is one of the fastest-growing areas of crime in the UK. A recent report published by the anti-virus firm Norton estimated that cybercrime had cost UK consumers £130bn in 2017, with individuals falling victim to a variety of scams, phishing attacks, ransomware, online fraud and hacking. But it’s not just members of the public who are suffering from the effects of cybercrime. Figures released by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport show that almost half of all small businesses have been the victim of at least one cyber-attack within the past 12 months. Such attacks can have a devastating impact on small businesses, damaging reputations, causing disruption and financial loss, and may even force them to close.

Protecting consumers and businesses from cybercrime requires a joined-up approach across government and the private sector. Organisations such as Action Fraud and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) are all part of the government’s response to the problem. The NCSC’s small business guide, published in October 2017, provides helpful advice and simple steps that businesses can follow to reduce their vulnerability.

The mayor of London recognises the challenge cybercrime presents to small businesses in the capital and has developed an ambitious vision for London: “to be the best place to invest and do business with on the planet.” As an essential part of the capital’s infrastructure, helping businesses stay safe online is a key part of this vision.

This is one of the reasons the LDSC was established by the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime. In an increasingly technologically-driven environment, the internet provides businesses with opportunities to reach new customers and embrace new technology. The LDSC is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the mayor’s vision by helping businesses grow and innovate online through operating in a secure digital environment.

Our free membership scheme offers businesses across London an assessment of their current security posture against the government’s Cyber Essentials framework. We also provide each member with a detailed report showing how they can implement simple changes to reduce their vulnerability to cybercrime. Our free online training tools help improve skills and knowledge and our masterclasses give members an opportunity to find out more about what they can do to enhance their security posture.

In addition, we run regular ‘In the Community’ events across London boroughs, visiting small businesses with police officers to deliver cybercrime prevention advice. We also run a number of events based around key cyber security themes where industry experts share their knowledge. Our marketplace provides our members with a small list of carefully selected and trusted cyber security companies who offer more specific expertise.

One of the questions we are often asked by businesses is how we know what products and services are right for us. To help businesses navigate their way through an increasingly cluttered cyber security market, LDSC is developing a new accreditation scheme for digital security in partnership with Secured by Design, the official police crime prevention initiative. The new scheme will require cyber security companies to demonstrate that they have met tough industry standards. They must also sign up to a new code of conduct. A second scheme will be based around the government’s Cyber Essentials framework and is designed for companies who can show they have implemented measures that reduce their vulnerability online.

It is clear that the threat of cybercrime is growing. However, by making a few simple changes to the way businesses operate, the majority of attacks can be prevented.




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