Can we depend on law enforcement to protect us from cyber crime?

The Home Affairs Select Committee of the UK Houses of Parliament has reported that the UK faces a losing battle against cyber crime and (in particular) with low-level financial crime.

In a time of austerity and budget cuts, the report recommended that more officers should be trained to deal with cyber crime and officers already performing this task should be protected from any cuts.

The reality, though, is rather more depressing. The committee noted that they had been told by Adrian Leppard, deputy assistant commissioner at the City of London Police, that up to a quarter of the UK’s 800 specialist officers that deal with cyber crime could be lost to budget cuts.

This leads me to believe we cannot depend on law enforcement when it comes to cyber crime. With there being less officers available to police cyberspace, we are all faced with a ‘Wild West’ situation when using the Internet.

But what can we realistically do to counter the cyber threat that is faced by each and every one of us and our respective organisations?

The answer is pretty simple really – take basic precautions to protect ourselves. Firstly, we need to up-skill so that we have the right knowledge and skills within our organisations to protect our systems and information. This can be done by studying using e-learning courses or attending classroom-based courses.

Once we have the knowledge and skills to protect ourselves, we should then look to employ best practice methods for cyber security. PAS 555 is a new (summer 2013) document that has been created to give guidance on deploying effective cyber security within an organisation.It allows you to take a back-to-basics approach focusing on delivering effective cyber security.

Finally, once we have both the knowledge and skills and an effective framework for cyber security in place, we should look to technological solutions such as encryption, using software such as Alertsec Endpoint Encrypt or information classification software such as Boldon James Classifier.

At the end of the day, you can only really depend on yourself to ensure your systems and data are safe!