Police crime watchdog Action Fraud has launched a new 24-hour cyber attack helpline to assist businesses as and when they experience hacks and data breaches.
The new service, which encourages businesses to seek on-the-spot advice as soon as they spot the signs of a “live cyber attack,” has been launched following the publication of worrying new research.
According to official data from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017, almost half (46 per cent) of all UK businesses experienced at least one cyber attack during the 2016/17 financial year.
Action Fraud says that such attacks have had dire consequences for many unfortunate and ill-prepared small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), such as:
- The permanent or temporary loss of customer details.
- Website failures.
- Loss of earnings.
- Reputational damage.
In a bid to quite literally stop cyber attackers in their tracks, the UK’s fraud watchdog has now launched a 24-hour helpline, which is backed by specialist advisors trained in helping businesses, charities and other organisations to put an end to a cyber attack before it can cause any real damage.
Action Fraud describes a “live attack” as an attack “that is ongoing and is still affecting a business’ systems and ability to function.”
It says that all calls will be logged and reported to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), which has the capacity to assess “whether there are any websites, bank accounts or phone numbers that can be closed down” as the attack is taking place.
The NFIB will “review the report and conduct a range of enquiries in order to see if there are any other connected reports or links to known criminals,” it adds.
“Live cyber reports are sent to the relevant law enforcement agency for investigation within the UK in order to get the best response; this can be a local police force or the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), which forms part of the National Crime Agency (NCA).
“There may be ways for law enforcement to take action immediately,” it says.
Further information about the new helpline can be accessed here.
Moore Thompson are advising our clients to be extra cautious, as cyber attacks targeting SMEs appear to be on the rise. Always ensure that effective virus protection software is installed on any company computers, and that data and passwords are adequately protected. If in doubt, contact Action Fraud immediately.