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Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police To Stage Major Cyber Crime Conference at the University of Worcester

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Leading experts in cyber crime will come together next month for a major conference being staged by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police in partnership with the University of Worcester.

 

Taking place on Monday 8th September, the day-long conference is designed to increase public awareness of this growing type of crime and to develop partnership working to tackle internet fraudsters. It comes soon after a similar information security event, which was hosted by Coventry University in conjunction with the alliance, in May this year.

 

Cyber security expert Tony Dyhouse will give the keynote speech at the Worcester event, which is sponsored by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore and is to be opened by West Mercia Chief Constable David Shaw.

 

Other expert speakers include Tony Neate, Chief Executive Officer at Get Safe Online, Richard Henson, a Senior Lecturer in Computing at the University of Worcester and Steven Dunsmuir from Hex Security.

 

Issues to be tackled during the event include the threat that cyber crime poses to businesses and the public, legislation surrounding internet crime and advice on how people can protect themselves and their assets.

 

Detective Chief Inspector Sean Paley, from Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police specialist operations unit, said "Traditional crime categories – such as burglary, violence and robbery – have seen a steady decrease in recent years but cyber crime continues to rise.

 

"Most people would never dream of leaving their home unlocked or handing out details of personal or business bank accounts to strangers in the street. However, many are leaving themselves just as vulnerable as this online.

 

"Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police are committed to raising awareness of cyber crime amongst both members of the public and the business community and events such as this play a crucial role in doing that.

 

"Awareness really is key. An understanding of the scams to look out for and knowing the simple preventative measures that can be put in place, really can reduce the chances of someone becoming a victim of cyber crime."

 

The audience, made up of a range of invited guests including educators, businesses, the police and public bodies, will test and improve their knowledge by taking part in a quiz and there will also be a "Question Time"-style debate involving the panel of experts.

 

Software companies that provide IT systems for the Government and public sector will also provide informative stands.

 

University of Worcester senior lecturer Richard Henson, who is a cyber security expert, will give a talk on cyber threats facing SMEs.

 

Speaking ahead of the event, he said:"Apart from crimes under the Computer Misuse and Data Protection acts, there is a growing trend for what is known as cyber-enabled crime. The law that is broken in these cases may not be an IT law, but something else; such as extortion, harassment or fraud.

 

"At the same time, hackers are becoming ever more diversified, and using ever more devious techniques to get information from people that can be used to compromise computer systems and whole computer networks. This is obviously of importance to members of the public as well as small businesses, and the speakers have been chosen to provide something for all interested parties."

 

The closing speech of the conference will be given by Barrie Sheldon, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia. He said: "The police are aware that crime is changing and that cybercrime provides a growing threat to us all.

 

"Police officers need to be equipped to respond effectively to reports of cybercrime and have the resources available to them to investigate reported crimes expeditiously and provide a service that inspires confidence in victims.

 

"There needs to be effective coordination of national, regional, and local responses to cybercrime and there needs to be a wide programme of education and prevention to mitigate the growing threat. I am pleased that Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police are developing a cybercrime strategy, and this conference will provide the platform to discuss the challenges to be faced and help in developing a strategy that will effectively tackle the cyber criminal."

 

Cyber crime is now estimated to cost Britain £27 billion a year with online shopping and auction scams, advanced fee frauds, online bank account cons and investment scams among the top "volume frauds".

 

Up to 70 per cent of frauds can be cyber-enabled compared to around 40 per cent five or so years ago.

 

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) provided police forces across England and Wales with individual annual fraud and cyber profiles earlier this year. The data shows the total financial loss reported by individuals and businesses in both Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police force areas as a result of fraud was approximately £13m from April 2013 to the end of March 2014. West Mercia’s figure was approximately £8.6m and Warwickshire’s approximately £4.4m.

 

The equivalent total figure for cyber crime was approximately £590,000 across the alliance area, with a peak in the amount of money lost in December due to online purchases increasing over the Christmas period. Financial loss for Warwickshire was approximately £198,000 for the 2013/14 financial year and West Mercia was approximately £394,000.

 

In West Mercia, in terms of volume, the top cyber crime type was in the category of computer virus/malware/spyware with 264 reports, followed by hacking, social media and e-mail with 148.

 

This conference and ongoing partnership work between the alliance and academia is in support of the Government’s Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and shows a local commitment to the Strategic Policing Requirement.

 

For more information about the conference or to book a place please email Julia Dale on Julia.dale@westmercia.pnn.police.uk