Cyber Security

Business leaders at the Science Park were recently treated to a presentation by Tom Haye, the Chief Officer of Hampshire Special Constabulary.  “What have Special Constables to do with cyber-crime?” you may well ask.

Well, first you have to go back to 2013 and the establishment of the National Crime Agency which, among other things replaced the Online Protection Centre with a new National Cyber Crime Unit.  This is staffed largely by so-called “Cyber Specials” – Special Constables whose “day-jobs” are in the digital domain.  This is arguably a better approach than using regular police officers who may have no IT skills whatsoever to bring to the battle against cyber-crime.  At the time of writing, there are at least forty Cyber Specials across the country, and there is an ongoing call for them to be augmented by Cyber Police Volunteers.  Of course, Special Constables are themselves volunteers but they all undergo the same training as regular police officers, and have the same powers. (Unlike PCSOs, but that’s a different story.)  The creation of Cyber Police Volunteers is quite a clever idea, because it allows the authorities to bring to bear some serious expertise from industry, at very limited cost.  Unlike Special Constables, Cyber Police Volunteers will not be fully trained as police officers – they will form a network of highly-skilled consultants, effectively, working in close collaboration with the Cyber Specials.

So, apart from explaining all this, what other advice did Mr Haye pass on?  Too much by a long chalk to repeat here, but he did provide several very useful links that would be well worth a visit by anyone at all concerned about online security.

Don’t forget… while the movies like to portray hackers as highly sophisticated brainboxes with almost mythical skills to deploy across cyberspace, most of them are no different to the sort of muggers, thieves and pickpockets who’ve always been around.  All they’ve done is learn how to steal from our computers rather than from our homes or pockets.  Connecting your laptop, tablet and smartphone to the internet without securing it properly is just like buying a new front door and fitting it with a simple hardware-shop lock that a child could pick with a hairgrip.

Enjoy the manifest benefits of new technology, but do be sure to get a little bit clued-up by following some of these links:

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime. Where thresholds for investigation are met, cases are referred back to local forces.
https://www.getsafeonline.org/ The UK’s leading source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety.
https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/ Cyber Aware is a cross-government awareness and behaviour change campaign delivered by the Home Office in conjunction with Department of Culture, Media & Sport alongside the National Cyber Security Centre, and funded by the National Cyber Security Programme in the Cabinet Office.
https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/The National Cyber Security Centre was set up to help protect our critical services from cyber attacks, managing major incidents and improve the underlying security of the UK Internet through technological improvement and advice to citizens and organisations. Our vision is to help make the UK the safest place to live and do business online.

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