NCA – SOC report : Reflections from Rebecca Chapman, Director NEBRC

Last month, the NCA published on their website the annual national strategic assessment of serious and organised crime (SOC). A key point from the report was that emerging technologies were being used to both commit crimes at scale and avoid detection. Cryptocurrencies were highlighted as being utilised by OCGs to facilitate money laundering, and a rise in the number of ransomware attacks was shown, with an estimated 50% involving threats to publish stolen data.

Here, NEBRC Director Rebecca Chapman reflects on some of the key findings.

There are few crimes in this day and age which do not involve some degree of technology in either their planning or execution. Even something common like a pub brawl will likely involve CCTV cameras, or perhaps a smartwatch which recorded the participant’s heartbeat at the time of the offence. In light of the growing role which technology plays in crime, it’s important to remember what steps to take and know what help is out there should you find yourself becoming a victim of crime.

The impending introduction of a new system at Action Fraud is set to make the process of reporting a cyber-crime much easier. Alongside this, the NEBRC is available to help talk businesses through the reporting process and provide a link to the investigators when allocated. If a crime is in progress, businesses may want to register a call for action at their local force using 101; remember, all forces in England and Wales now have fully functioning cyber investigation teams, meaning that help is always just a phone call away.

If you are worried about maintaining your business’ reputation, make sure that you are clear on the information you wish to keep confidential throughout the investigation, and discuss with the investigators how the incident will play out should it go to court. Police have access to the full weight of the law in addition to the usual data recovery and negotiation strategies, so they will understand any concerns you may have.

As faceless crimes become ever increasing, with some committed by offenders outside of the UK, jurisdiction prevention remains vital. With NCSC Guidance, the NEBRC can talk businesses through implementing the basic security measures which will stop the majority of attacks. Ransomware is generally a consequence of being ‘let in’ to a system due to poor passwords, as well as phishing emails. As a result, staff training remains paramount in preventing such attacks.

One of the easiest ways to maximise your human firewall is by becoming a member of the NEBRC, which will give your company access to a range of educational videos prepared by our ethical hackers, showing you how to protect yourself and your business online. These videos can be used in staff training sessions or, if preferred, you can request a face-to-face awareness session from the centre as part of your membership.

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