The importance of cyber security and the threats posed to businesses and individuals will be highlighted throughout March when a specially equipped cyber information bus is set to tour all 22 unitary authorities in Wales.
Funded by the Welsh Government and managed by Tarian, the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) for Southern Wales along with the North West ROCU, the bus – which was unveiled at a launch event at Cardiff Bay today (Monday 4th March) – will travel throughout Wales before returning to the Welsh capital on March 29th.
In her address at the launch, Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans AM said: “The threat of cybercrime is not going away – figures recently published by Action Fraud reveal that more than £190,000 a day is lost in the UK by victims of cybercrime.
“We need to ensure that people and businesses are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to recognise the signs of cybercrime – and provide them with the tools to stay safe online.
“I want to encourage everyone to visit the Cyber Bus when it visits an area near them.”
Deputy Chief Constable for Gwent and All Wales Lead for Cyber Crime, Pam Kelly said: “The 25 day bus tour will be an excellent opportunity for our teams to get right into the communities of Wales to engage and raise awareness to as many people as possible about cyber-crime.
“Funded by the Welsh Government and managed by Tarian, the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) for Southern Wales along with the North West ROCU, this is an innovative approach to engagement that I’m excited to see in Wales.
“The specially equipped cyber bus tours will aim is to help build cyber-resilience and a more cyber secure environment for both the public and businesses in Wales.
“It is important that we not only raise awareness of cyber security for individuals but for groups and businesses, emphasising the key messaging in line with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the UK National Cyber Security Strategy.
“This is just part of the proactive work going on in Wales, in partnership with the Welsh Government and Tarian to raise awareness with people of all ages and I’d encourage you all to pop along and visit the bus when it stops in your area.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, who attended the launch said: “Cyber-crime is a modern and growing crime that has the potential to impact greatly on victims, which can take many different forms ranging from fraud, the spread of indecent images and cyber-bullying.
“I welcome the collaborative effort between Welsh Government, the four Police and Crime Commissioners and Police forces in Wales to raise awareness about the impact of cyber-crime as well as our commitment to combat cyber-crime and support victims.”
The aim of the initiative is to raise awareness of cyber security for individuals, groups and businesses, delivering key messaging in line with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the UK National Cyber Security Strategy.
The bus will be staffed by bilingual Police Cyber Protect Officers and other cyber security experts as well as partners such as Get Safe Online. The operating hours will be between midday and 8.00pm to allow for those unable to attend during working hours.
Statistics recently published by Action Fraud reveal that more than £190,000 a day is lost in the UK by victims of cyber-crime. More than a third of victims in that period fell prey to the hacking of social media and email accounts.
Action Fraud also say that £34.6m was reported to be stolen from victims between April and September 2018, a 24% increase on the previous six months.
Figures show that 13,357 people in the UK reported cyber crimes over six months and over 5,000 of those people were hacked via their social media and email accounts, costing victims £14.8m.
Detective Constable Symon Kendall of Tarian said: “We will use the specially equipped bus to speak to anyone who is interested in upskilling themselves and we can demonstrate scams and hacks.
“We will also be staging separate events in nearby premises for both business and the public where more formal cyber protect presentations and business cyber resilience table top exercise will take place.
“It is estimated that the vulnerability to cybercrime can be reduced by 80% by taking five key steps in increasing cyber security. We recognise that the majority of campaigns rely on social media and website information and the majority of cyber security events are attended by those with an interest in cyber security. As such we are not reaching the general public and small businesses. This project is designed to go some way towards remedying this.
“We know that nationally there is considerable under reporting of cybercrime and this affects our ability to combat the threat and by promoting Action Fraud as the National Fraud and Cybercrime Reporting Centre we will raise awareness of the services available.
“The overarching goal is to incorporate cyber resilience into the national psyche which will in turn make Wales a more cyber resilient nation where it is safer to do business online.”