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Who are the cyber targets?

What type of people are being targeted by cyber criminals? The City of London Police in its capacity as the national policing lead for fraud and cyber crime reporting has published findings. The report is the work of a new unit in the City force, the Economic and Cyber Crime Prevention Centre (ECPC).

The ECPC’s work reveals for the first time not only the type of people that are being targeted by cyber criminals but also where they live and the methods cyber criminals are using to infect computers and commit fraud. Research with victims of cyber crime between November 2014 and October 2015 suggests that men lose on average almost three times as much money to cyber criminals than women. The average loss for men was £2,354 compared with only £809 for women.

The report also finds that the harm caused to victims of cyber crime increases with age, with elderly victims feeling a greater impact on their health and financial wellbeing than younger victims. The research used a total of 29,000 victim reports taken by the reporting centre Action Fraud during 2015. The data showed that woman were six times more likely to become a victim of online shopping and auction fraud than men which suggests that fraudsters are targeting woman who shop online.

Working with partners and agencies such as the police, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Home Office the ECPC seeks to provide individuals and particularly small businesses with advice and guidance on how to stay protected from all forms of economic and cyber crime. The unit has a staff member seconded from Get Safe Online who work to design and share bespoke messages.

The unit works to reduce the impact of economic and cyber crime on victims by raising awareness on how to stay protected from the latest criminal threats through the production of social media campaigns, personal engagement with individuals and businesses and by working alongside industry to design out crime.

The ECPC, with its partners, will be sending social media messages to the public and business based on the latest threats facing the UK. This has already begun with alerts on the dangers of public Wi-Fi and advice on staying clear of dating fraudsters.

Commander Chris Greany the National Police Coordinator for Economic Crime and cyber protect lead said “We have built the ECPC to analyse the threat using information from crime reports as well as information from partners to educate the public and businesses to protect themselves. We are utilising as many platforms as possible to get our message across including the Cross Sector Security Communications network which has 14 million subscribers. With the majority of fraud being cyber enabled the Economic and Cyber Crime Prevention Centre has been designed to help beat the criminals by helping people to protect themselves.”

He suggested that 80pc of fraud and cyber crime is preventable if individuals and businesses follow simple advice. “The work we do in education and prevention will be key to reducing crime which costs the economy of the UK between £30-40 billion annually.”

For advice on how to prevent becoming a victim of crime visit the Action Fraud website www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Meanwhile the new Commissioner of the City of London Police Ian Dyson called on UK organisations to join the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA). GCA was set up in September 2015, co-founded by the City of London Police, the District Attorney’s Office, New York (DANY) and the Center for Internet Security (CIS). GCA is described as an international, cross-sector effort designed to confront, address, and prevent malicious cyber activity. While most efforts at addressing cyber risk have been industry, sector, or geographically specific, GCA looks to tackle the worldwide threat.

Ian Dyson said: “Cyber crime requires a different approach to traditional crime in mitigating the risks, and this is one of the reasons that the Global Cyber Alliance has been created. It is a not-for-profit organisation that allows law enforcement, industry and academia from around the globe to partner with each other to tackle some of the biggest cyber risks affecting us now and in the future. The threats we face in the City of London are the same as those faced by all major financial centres and it is by working together that we can protect people and business.”

GCA is prioritising the cyber risks that the organisation will target in 2016-17. GCA has offices in the Square Mile; see www.globalcyberalliance.org.


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