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Cash seized from criminals to be pumped into cyber training for businesses | #cybercrime | #infosec | #hacking | #aihp


Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner Andrew Snowden has committed £150k of cash seized from criminals to a cyber security programme for small and medium sized businesses. (Image: Lancashire PCC)

Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner has committed £150,000 of cash seized from criminals to launch a county-wide cyber security programme.

The programme will help businesses protect themselves against fraud and cyber crime, and stop criminals in their tracks.

The investment from commissioner Andrew Snowden will provide up to 250 small and medium seized businesses with vital support to protect against the growing risk of cyber threats, spot the signs of a cyber attack, and be equipped to respond if they were to fall victim.

Between April 2022 and March 2023, there were 759 victims of cyber crime in Lancashire, while 59 per cent of medium sized businesses identified a cyber security breach in the last 12 months and 32 per cent of those being attack at least once per week lost around £5,000 in lost data and assets.

Through the Lancashire Cyber Support Programme, delivered with the North West Cyber Resilience Centre (NWCRC) staff from businesses will receive training on topics like phishing, encryption, website cloning and passwords, and be helped with policy and procedures around cybercrime, alongside one-to-one support.

Funding provided by the commissioner has come through the police innovation strand of the Safer Lancashire Neighbourhoods fund.

Commissioner Snowden, who also chairs the NWCRC, said: “I’m delighted to support businesses across Lancashire in becoming more resilient to cyber attacks, to make life much harder for offenders, prevent new victims, and stay one step ahead of criminals in what is a fast-paced, ever-changing landscape.

“A cyber-attack can affect any business, regardless of its size, location, or maturity. Lancashire has a wide range of great businesses who operate online and through this programme we’ll be able to lessen these risks, protecting people and organisations.

“This is exactly what my Safer Lancashire Neighbourhoods Fund is all about, backing project that support the fight against crime and help officers in their targeting of offenders. It’s also an exciting opportunity for businesses to secure themselves and educate staff with the most up to date information on staying safe in the digital world.”

Detective inspector Dan Giannasi, head of cyber and innovation at the NWCRC, said: “Cyber attacks pose a huge risk to the small business community and can have devastating effect, both financially and emotionally. Small businesses often don’t have access to cyber security services, so the Cyber Resilience Centre offers a range of resources and guidance as part of our free membership.

“We provide professional and affordable services like security awareness training and simulated phishing exercises to help protect businesses and build resilience to cyber attacks.”

Detective inspector Paul Whitehead from Lancashire Constabulary added: “Like police forces across the North West, we are seeing cyber attacks on businesses increasing monthly.

“This police-backed scheme aims to prevent small businesses in Lancashire from becoming victims of cyber crime and suffering significant financial loss.”

The commissioner will meet with key stakeholders later in March to outline how the police, together with the NWCRC and partners, can best work together to tackle online criminals.

The scheme will launch in June.

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