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PSNI to help local businesses guard against cybercrime

The PSNI, working with a range of partners from across law enforcement, industry and the public sector, will this week carrying out a range of activity to help businesses guard against cybercrime, it was announced this morning.

The National Crime Agency has developed customised intelligence reports for internet hosting companies and service providers, acting on data provided by CERT-UK (the UK’s Computer Emergency Response Team) and the Shadowserver Foundation.

The analysis has so far identified that there are more than 5,000 compromises on servers within the UK each of which can be used to send out spam email, launch attacks against websites or servers, or install phishing websites to gain access to sensitive information.

With phishing representing one of the most common cyber crime threats to the public and businesses, the NCA estimates that businesses acting on this advice could between them, clean up approximately half of the estimated phishing attacks typically found in the UK each month.

In Northern Ireland, detectives from PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch cybercrime team are visiting a number of companies whose systems have been compromised. They are being provided with information which will enable them to reduce the threat.

Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant, from Organised Crime Branch, said: “Following a number of high profile malware threats to the UK, the NCA is conducting this activity to proactively assist network administrators who manage key parts of the UK internet infrastructure. PSNI are notifying businesses of cyber crime threats on their systems and we will also include information on how they can subscribe to customised live data feeds relating to threats on their networks.

“There are a relatively small number of companies affected in Northern Ireland but the risks are substantial for them and for their customers. We are aware that companies have had their systems compromised by malicious criminal activity.

“We want businesses to be aware of the threats and to be in a position to protect themselves from the risks. We are providing them with the information to do so.

“But we also want businesses to engage with us and to report any suspicions or concerns they might have about criminal activity. At the end of last year we launched a facility which provides businesses with the opportunity to report cybercrime online and we would encourage companies to use it.

“Any business can now go to the PSNI website www.psni.police.uk and log details about cybercrime by clicking on an icon on the homepage carousel. This facility is solely for the business community.  Private individuals should continue to report online criminal activity to police in person or by phone or, if it relates to fraud, to Action Fraud. Businesses seeking to report fraud should continue to contact Action Fraud. This portal is solely for cybercrime.”

Malware clean-up tools for businesses and members of the public, as well as information and advice on many aspects of online safety, are available at www.cyberstreetwise.com and www.getsafeonline.org. Online crime can be reported at www.actionfraud.police.uk

DCI Grant said: “The internet is a fantastic resource which we should all be able to use and enjoy safely. Awareness of the type of cyber crime dangers which are out there is vital, particularly for the business community. We will continue to work with partners locally, nationally and worldwide to ensure they have as much information as possible to protect themselves and their customers. At the same time we will continue to investigate reports of criminal activity to ensure Northern Ireland is a hostile environment for cyber criminals.”

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