‘Don’t leave online systems vulnerable’

A team of cyber-security experts is encouraging business owners and individuals to check if they need to step up their online safety.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 12:00 am
Cyber protect officer Jonny Green.

The message comes after a difficult year in lockdown that saw national reporting centres see an increase in the number of unwanted cyber attacks and malicious activity at the hands of devious cybercriminals wanting to make fast cash.

Cyber protect officer Jonny Green has been working in policing since 2009 and joined the North East Regional Cyber Crime Unit in 2017 – drawing on his own expertise in computing to help businesses take action.

“Hackers don’t care who you are or what kind of company you run – they just look for a flaw in your system so they can get in and get what they want,” he said.

“Cybercriminals will never know or see the consequences of their actions, which are often devastating for small and medium sized businesses.

“They don’t care if you’re a brand new business who has been struggling to get off the ground, if you’ve really been affected by lockdown and recently made staff redundant, or even if you’ve had to re-mortgage your home to make your business work. As long as they can make money, it’s all fair game to them.

“What makes it so frustrating for us to investigate is that the majority of these unwanted attacks are completely preventable, which is why we work so closely with businesses to make sure they put the right measures in place in the first instance.”

Jonny and his team offer a range of free services – from scanning IP addresses to look for vulnerabilities and threats to scenario training, which helps businesses better plan for how to cope with a hack or security breach.

He added: “We want businesses to put cyber security at the forefront of their mind. It’s a lot easier to protect yourself from a breach than to have police investigate it.

“We want to encourage people to think about their security and take those steps. You wouldn’t leave your windows open or doors unlocked, so why leave your systems open and vulnerable to threats?

“Some companies think that reporting a breach is reputationally damaging, but it can be so much worse if it’s left unresolved.”

For more information, go to nerccu.police.uk/business