What is the Cyber Resilience Centre?
The CRC is a new organisation in the East Midlands, funded by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and its cyber programme. It brings together police, academia and the private sector to bolster the response to the cyber-crime threat. It is about helping businesses to protect themselves in a flexible and affordable way. The CRC will complement the work of police cyber-crime units, expanding the reach in to more business but also adding value by working together with universities and trusted industry partners. The outcome is that business can chose from a range of service levels depending on their budgets, including a free membership for the smaller businesses.
Is it one of a kind?
No – and that’s a very good thing. The East Midlands CRC is part of a network of cyber resilience centres being put in place across the UK. There will be great strength in this network, including our ability to share learning and successful strategies across the system.
Why is the centre so much of a priority for East Midlands policing ?
The threat from cyber-crime is ever evolving and is not going to go away. Police forces have made big changes in recent years to deal with this threat and help people and business to stay safe, but the size of that task is immense. One of the reasons for that is the nature of the crime itself; traditional crimes like robberies have geographical constraints and usually perpetrators from within the same territories. Cyber-crime has no such limits. As such our mission needs to be different, with far greater emphasis on helping people to protect themselves. The CRC network will be an important tool in achieving this aim, leveraging valuable support from several sectors and deploying it at scale.
Does the Covid-19 situation bring additional pressure for cyber police, given that we have seen reports of new cyber scams and frauds?
It does. Criminals are very good at adapting to circumstances and taking advantage of new situations. During this terrible pandemic, criminals have preyed upon people’s fears, for example by fraudulently supplying unsuitable facemasks or taking money for vital equipment when no such equipment even existed. Even more heinous are the opportunities being taken by paedophiles to groom children who are at home more and therefore online more. Criminals also see the importance of national infrastructure such as supply chains and the NHS, and would seek to exploit those vulnerabilities via cyber-enabled extortion. Law enforcement agencies are working hard against these threats, and the CRC network has an important part to play.
Where has the funding for the centre come from?
In the initial stages funding has come from Government via the Home Office, via budgets set aside to deal with cyber-crime. Moving forward funding will be generated from the involvement of business, both through the governance structure and as customers. It’s important to note that this is a not-for-profit organisation, and any revenue generated goes back into our efforts to keep businesses safe.
Can you explain a little bit more about the student services and where the students are coming from? Are they local?
We have built up relationships with many local universities who are keen to work with us, and in terms of students, these are coming from Nottingham Trent University and De Montfort. There is benefit for all involved; the cyber centre provides training and valuable experience to selected students, the students provide a valuable resource to help achieve the aims of the CRC, and local businesses get access to a relevant and up-to-date service at affordable rates. This part of the CRC is called ‘Curious Frank’ and there is more information available on our website.
East Midlands Policing has a strong track record of collaboration with business in the past; what should a business do if they want to support this Centre?
I would ask you to get in touch with us and we can talk about opportunities. Businesses can get involved in a range of ways; there is Board membership, involvement in our Independent Advisory Group, inclusion as a trusted delivery partner or, of course, as a customer.
Join the Cyber Resilience Centre for an IoD webinar on the 7th July
This article is part of our IoD East Midlands Summer Magazine. To read it in full click below.
IoD East Midlands Summer Magazine