NI Businesses Lose Over £2m Following Online Crime

Firms in Northern Ireland lost over £2 million following online crime last year, according to new figures.

Figures from Get Safe Online and Action Fraud show 247 cases were reported with total losses amounting to £2,152,343 between March 2015 and March 2016.

However, police believe the overall losses could be higher.

Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant, from PSNI Cyber Crime Centre, said: "While these figures are below the national average, they are a cause for concern and they highlight how local businesses need to train their staff to spot warning signs."

Nationally, online losses last year amounted to £1 billion with 37,000 cases reported, a 22 per cent increase.

The internet security awareness initiative Get Safe Online believes businesses needs to do more to ensure staff have appropriate online fraud awareness training, so that everyone understands their role in keeping the business secure. A substantial amount of attempted fraud against businesses is successful due to lack of knowledge or sloppy habits by employees.
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Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said: "These latest figures show the enormous, and quite frankly, daunting impact online crime can have on a business, its reputation, its employees and even its continued operation. It also highlights the abundance of ways a business can be targeted, both externally, and from within. To tackle this issue head on, businesses need to review their own skills and knowledge, determine if they need outside help, and then create measures to prevent, detect and respond to potential security threats. It's all about education, and staff must be aware of this plan and trained where necessary.

"With new data regulations in place, we’ll see more and more businesses in Northern Ireland start to report online crime and realise that the right staff training can go a long way to helping prevent this growing problem."

Detective Constable Inspector Grant said: "Business people in Northern Ireland are vulnerable to leaving themselves exposed to fraud if they fail to take simple steps to protect themselves.

"Any business, regardless of size, should be signed up to the Cyber Essentials scheme to ensure they have basic protection in place. Cyber Essentials is a government funded initiative to provide certification and verification that basic cyber security measures are in place."


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