Over the last few weeks, cyber criminals have begun to take advantage of the new working-from-home world we find ourselves in. Cyber security company ThreatAware estimates that up to 55% of business computers are vulnerable to attack when used at home, while scams and fraud targeting companies are also on the rise. With an increase in employees logging in at home and a boom in virtual meetings, there has never been a more urgent time to invest in cyber security.
Cyber security is already a key growth sector in the UK; between 2015 and 2019 UK cyber companies raised £7.8bn, placing the country third in the world for cyber investment after the US and China. And, over the next few weeks and months, businesses could realise just how essential the industry’s services are.
Today, Tech Nation announces the 22 new UK cyber companies that have been selected for its Cyber programme. They are all utilising cutting-edge technologies to provide innovative solutions to improve security and protect businesses and individuals — and many of them are tackling issues coming to the fore against the backdrop of Covid-19.
Bob’s Business, Glasswall, Hut Six, OutThink and ThinkCyber all provide training to minimise the human risk from scams. Dataswift, ByzGen and Symphonic are all providing innovative data sharing and privacy solutions for both companies and individuals.
Many of the companies joining the programme are also directly providing new solutions and responses to Covid-19. For instance, ByzGen is working closely with strategic partners to identify ways to improve the exchange of sensitive medical data between primary health providers in the NHS. CyberSmart has created a new Small Business Resilience Hub to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) navigate the transition to remote working safely. And PreCog has developed a real-time crime intelligence solution for the government, and can even help monitor social distancing measures.
The companies also have plenty of top tips about how to stay safe while working from home.
Think before you share your data
“We urge individuals to always be diligent about where (and why) they share their data, but to be particularly vigilant at this time when we are likely to spend more time online, given that most of us are required to stay at home” — Jannat Shah Rajan, chief operating officer of eXate.
Keep your software up to date
“The latest software is the most secure software. So ensure you keep all your smart devices and any router or wifi product software up to date during these unprecedented times" — Trina Watt, chief marketing officer of Foundries.io
Discuss security concerns with your employees
“The coronavirus presents businesses with an unprecedented challenge, and places a huge strain on IT and security teams, as many employees are not security trained and can be attacked by quite simple social engineering methods. Covid-19 weaponised emails, theft of remote user credentials, and smishing [SMS phishing] and spear phishing attacks are on the rise. It is vital that security departments open up lines of two-way communication with the employees” — Flavius Plesu, founder and chief executive of OutThink
Remember the basics – no-one will phone and ask for your password
“Know how to report an incident — and don’t be afraid to do it. Make sure your home wifi or router is secure. Change default passwords, put pins on devices and keep laptops locked away overnight. Don’t share work devices with family members and avoid the temptation to use WhatsApp and personal email — only use company approved tools. Back up your work (using company systems), but avoid USBs” — Tim Ward, chief executive and cofounder of ThinkCyber
For more information on Tech Nation’s Cyber programme, visit its website.