An estimated 11 million internet-enabled devices were received as Christmas gifts last month, with business security professionals suggesting this could put the UK’s small firms at risk if employees fail to take necessary precautions.
The Government has subsequently launched a campaign labelled ‘Cyber Streetwise’ in a bid to raise awareness of cyber security to change the way people view online safety.
The scheme will afford the skills and knowledge required for businesses and the general public to take control of their cyber security. It comes at a time when an increasing number of people use the internet on laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Recent survey data from the Government’s latest National Cyber Security Consumer Tracker found that many users fail to take simple actions to protect themselves online.
Gary Fairley, cyber and digital lead at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), said: "There has been a shift in cyber criminals’ attention towards SMEs in the last year or so and it’s important that businesses take the threat seriously.
"Getting the basics right is the most important step and will protect businesses against the majority of known threats."
Mr Fairley said one financial enterprise company in Edinburgh carried out a brief exercise last year with an "ethical hacker" to determine the level of online risk it faced.
Using a spoof profile, the hacker was able to obtain a significant amount of sensitive business information just by targeting the social media accounts of employees – including some senior team members.
"Make sure security patches are up-to-date on your systems, ensure passwords are strong, unique and changed regularly and that staff know what their responsibilities are in protecting your business’ information," added Fairley.
The ‘Cyber Streetwise’ campaign has been supported by a number of private sector partners who have invested in the programme in the best interests of the SME sector.
James Brokenshire, Security Minister, said: "The internet has radically changed the way we work and socialise. It has created a wealth of opportunities, but with these opportunities there are also threats.
"However, by taking a few simple steps while online the public can keep cyber criminals out and their information safe."
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