Wales is officially the number one place in the UK (alongside London) where people are most affected by cybercrime according to a study by the University of Birmingham and internet security firm Avast.
In response to this worrying trend, the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales (WCRC) has launched a brand-new campaign, backed by influential business organisations to encourage the Welsh business community to increase its cyber resilience by making small, yet critical changes.
Data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) also shows more than £53 million was lost to fraud and cybercrime in Wales alone last year. For a nation of three million people, this is a staggering amount of money to have stolen by criminals.
The WCRC’s ‘We Commit’ campaign aims to raise further awareness of the increasing risk of cyber threats and how the police-led, not-for-profit organisation is helping businesses in Wales be better protected from online crime.
Alongside this, the centre is inviting startups, micro-businesses, SMEs, as well as charities, the third sector and larger corporations across Wales to consider what they plan to do to be more cyber resilient in 2022. Businesses and organisations can join the campaign by selecting an action from the ‘11 Cyber Resilience Commitments’ the WCRC has created or to share their own on social media using #WeCommitt2022 and tagging @CRCWales on Twitter and @WalesCRC for Facebook.
WCRC Director, Detective Superintendent Paul Peters says, “We are determined to make cyber resilience best practice more accessible, especially for smaller businesses that don’t have any IT support.
“Implementing strong cyber security measures doesn’t necessarily mean having a high-level technical understanding. Using strong and different passwords for each login, backing up data and replacing outdated software are all examples of simple yet effective ways to increase defences against online criminals.
“Through the campaign we are relaying the message that we commit to supporting Welsh business owners and decision makers in becoming more resilient against the effects of attacks which can have reverberating consequences. We commit to providing free guidance and affordable support for businesses to become more cyber resilient.
“Protecting our country’s economy is imperative and to do this we all need to play our part by identifying what we can do to block cyberattack attempts wherever possible.” Paul continued.
“Cybercrime is something we will unfortunately always have to deal with, but we’re delighted that more than 200 businesses have already become WCRC members through our free offer that provides guidance, resources and updates. They are actively working to boost their resilience and what a powerful statement this makes to their colleagues, clients, customers, and supply chain that their best interests are also being taken care of.”
Paul Slevin, President of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid and WCRC Advisory Group member, is also backing the campaign.
He said: “The importance of basic cybersecurity measures cannot be underestimated for SMEs. We have seen a shift in working practices for many businesses over the last few years and with the hybrid model looking here to stay, SMEs should take action to increase their cyber resilience whether working from home or at the office. By committing to simple steps to improve cybersecurity, businesses will also be protecting their finances from risk.”
Mike Learmond, senior development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses Wales and WCRC Advisory Group member, said of the organisation’s involvement with the campaign: “We know the importance of connectivity cannot be understated for small businesses across Wales, with developing networks providing new and exciting opportunities for wider markets, especially in rural locations. Many small businesses in Wales have much to gain from expanding their offering online.
“With these new opportunities comes the increased need to protect businesses and develop cyber security and digital skills. Ensuring safe and secure online skills is vital to developing online confidence. We are pleased to play our part in encouraging our members to take advantage of the support and guidance offered through the We Commit campaign to protect their businesses”
The 11 Cyber Resilience Commitments
· We will use strong, complex passwords
· We will use 2FA
· We will do patches and to regularly update our software
· We will do a cyber security awareness course
· We will make sure our staff are aware of cyber risks
· We will make sure we back up our data
· We will make sure we keep up to update with current cyber threats which could affect our customers
· We will make sure we use anti-virus software to protect our network
· We will use anti-virus software to protect our devices
· We will raise awareness of phishing attacks
· We will use different passwords for each account
Businesses can join the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales through a range of free membership and affordable upgraded packages to access guidance, tools and budget-friendly services to help better protect themselves against the threat of cybercrime.