Cheshire businesses urged to protect their data against cyber-crime

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The North West Cyber Resilience Centre (NWCRC) has warned that businesses could continue to see a rise in cyber attacks this year, in particular ransomware attacks, as cyber criminals’ methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Maddocks of the NWROCU said: “Throughout the start of 2022, we saw an increase of reports of cyber attacks on businesses across the North West.

“Ransomware attacks remain a concern, where criminals encrypt businesses’ data and offer to give it back in exchange for a sum of money. This can be crippling for a small business and quite scary for any business.”

The Government’s Cyber Security Breaches report 2022 found that 39% of businesses reported a cyber breach or attack in the previous 12 months. The report found that phishing was the most commonly identified cyber attack on businesses in 2022. Among the businesses identifying breaches, 83% had phishing attacks, 27% were impersonated and 21% had identified malware (including ransomware).

The NWCRC was set up in Greater Manchester in 2019 as a pilot scheme to support businesses in the region with the growing threat of cybercrime and cyber fraud. It was so successful that it was expanded for the North West region and then also rolled out to other regions across England and Wales and included in the HM Government National Cyber Strategy 2022. The NWCRC now has over 500 members and continues to grow year on year.

The organisation is now offering a free membership, which allows SMEs within Cheshire to access a range of resources aimed at protecting their businesses and educating business owners against cyber attacks.

Chris added, “We’re committed to reducing the number of cybercrime attacks on businesses across Cheshire through our free resources which educate, inform and help businesses.

“Now is the perfect time for an SME to take a close look at their business’s online security and understand what type of attacks could happen and how they can be prevented.”

Katie Gallagher, co-founder of the NWCRC, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic made life a lot harder for many SMEs, they had to move to home working at short notice or pivot their businesses to survive. Employees now use their home computers and domestic wifi, this has created many more opportunities for criminals to access various online accounts, through phishing or other means.

“Our free membership is a brilliant opportunity for small businesses to start their cyber security journey and learn how to protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated levels of cybercrime and gain access to resources created by seconded police officers and cyber specialists.”

The NWCRC’s free membership has been designed by Police Officers and Cyber Professionals, they are suitable for any business regardless of size or sector. The free membership includes Cyber Security Guide for Small Businesses, Cyber Incident Response Pack and free National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) materials.

The centre last month welcomed two senior police officers from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) as company directors in May. ​​Assistant Chief Constable Jo Edwards and Detective Superintendent Paul Denn will help further align the specialist knowledge, skills and capabilities of the Regional Cyber Crime Unit and Regional Cyber Protect Officers to the NWCRC’s mission of helping to protect businesses from cybercrime.

To find out more about the free membership, and to sign up, visit: https://www.nwcrc.co.uk/free-membership

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