Scottish minister to tackle cyber crime appointed
A Scottish government minister has been given responsibility for tackling the growing threat posed by cyber criminals.
Fergus Ewing will oversee the formation of a cyber security action plan to help protect business and individivduals.
The appointment was announced as delegates gathered for a summit to outline key steps firms can take to guard against internet crime.
Cyber crime is estimated to cost Scottish businesses £5bn a year.
The summit in Edinburgh was organised by e-Crime Scotland, which was developed through the Scottish Financial Crime Group.
It is working with partners in the Scottish Business Crime Centre (SBCC), law enforcement, Scottish government and the wider business community.
The summit was designed to address some of the most common risks faced by businesses, including poor IT security which potentially allows criminals to raid contacts, steal identities and infiltrate bank accounts.
Participants heard that businesses could reduce their risk of online crime by 80% by having up to date anti-virus software and firewalls in place.
SBCC assistant director Gary Ritchie said: "Cyber crime is not a fad. It is a clear and present danger for all businesses, regardless of size or sector.
"We estimate that Scots businesses are losing around £5bn a year to cyber criminals. That is an enormous amount that should concern every business boss and employee in Scotland.
"But the reality is that much of the threat of e-crime can be eradicated by simple and inexpensive measures."
Mr Ritchie said the summit was specifically targeted at small to medium sized enterprises.
He added: "We've found that larger businesses continue to develop research and refine their response to the threat of e-crime, but the smaller businesses can sometimes fall behind in the fight against on-line attack.
"This leaves them as viable targets for the online criminal as they may have a lack of cyber confidence, be unaware of where to direct concerns and, ultimately, what they need to do to become more secure."