Cybercrime is a fast-growing and challenging threat which needs to be tackled head on, says Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball, who opens a high profile event later this month aimed at improving internet security.
Mr Ball, who is sponsoring a cybercrime conference and workshop hosted by Coventry University in conjunction with Warwickshire and West Mercia Police, said he was delighted to provide a platform for discussing ways of tackling what has become a “new frontier” in criminal activity.
“I’m looking forward to opening the conference on 23rd May, bringing together a range of people with an interest in cyber security issues, including educators, businesses, law enforcers and various other authorities.
“Traditional crime such as burglary and robbery have declined year on year but in contrast, cybercrime is growing at a rapid pace. There needs to be a coordinated approach to counter this trend with everyone showing greater awareness and taking action to step up online security.”
He said most people would not consider leaving their home or car unlocked, but did not always think seriously about security when using the internet.
“We are two and a half times more likely to become a victim of internet fraud than any other crime. The cost of internet-related criminality is estimated at between £18 and £27 billion, yet in truth, the figure is much higher.”
Mr Ball said banks and other financial institutions should face up and work collaboratively with relevant agencies to tackle internet fraud.
“The reporting of such crime to Action Fraud and the National Fraud Investigation Bureau must be encouraged, and steps taken to capture the facts by utilising modern technology.”
He said that nationwide, there were tens of thousands of victims of cyber crime, ranging from large businesses to individual home computer users.
“Many of these crimes are relatively easy to prevent with greater awareness. Key to success will be the prevention message, which will be one of the themes highlighted during our cybercrime conference and workshop. We want people to understand what they can do to safeguard themselves against cyber criminals.”
Mr Ball said he also wanted police officers in Warwickshire and West Mercia to be equipped to offer the public advice on internet security, as they are on other aspects of crime prevention. A special group chaired by Assistant Chief Constable Lewis Benjamin and including key partners, has already been set up to tackle cyber crime and develop prevention initiatives.
During the conference and workshop, Warwickshire’s deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Eric Wood will chair a ‘Question Time’-style debate alongside David Booth, the former GCHQ head of information risk management, Dr Emma Philpott, founder of the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster, and John Unsworth, head of intelligence at the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. They will be supported by key note speaker and cyber security expert Tony Dryhouse.
The event’s technology workshops – hosted in the ethical hacking lab in Coventry University’s Engineering and Computing Building – will simulate real-time cyber security challenges to help improve awareness of risk, ability to spot a computer attack and knowledge of how to prevent it.
Anyone interested in securing one of the event’s few remaining places should email firstname.lastname@example.org.