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Police chiefs point public sector towards CyberAlarm


Mark Say Managing Editor

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An official from the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has told public sector organisations they can make use of its recently launched Police CyberAlarm service as part of their cyber security efforts.

Detective Chief Superintendent Andrew Gould, an officer in the Metropolitan Police who is the cyber crime programme head for the NPCC, outlined the initiative at UKAuthority’s online Cyber4Good conference yesterday.

He also pointed to the plan to build a network of regional cyber resilience centres to support smaller organisations.

The CyberAlarm Service has been based on an earlier project by Northamptonshire Police and set up primarily for small businesses but is open to public sector bodies as a free tool to help members understand and monitor malicious cyber activity. It provides software for monitoring for suspected malicious activity at an organisation’s firewall and vulnerability scanning.

Gould said has been developed as part of an effort to take a more proactive and data driven approach to combatting cyber crime.

“We’ve created our own alarm software that organisations can download that captures suspicious activity data at the firewall,” he said. “It enables us to build up a picture from across the country on what’s impacting business day-to-day, and those organisations that sign up will get monthly vulnerability scans and assessments.

“We’re also moving to a position in the next couple of months where we can give live time automated alerts. When we think organisations have been breached or have something to worry about we can alert them so they can go looking for that compromise. We’ll also be building into it indicators of compromise and other intelligence we get from our investigations to build on what’s already in place.

“The benefit for us is we start to get that live time threat picture for the UK. Then that starts to drive our investigative activity, prevention messaging and other work, so we start to become data driven rather than reactive.”

Filling a gap

Gould added that the network resilience centres will be set up to fill a perceived gap between the prevention advice offered by police forces and the extensive services from major cyber security specialists. It is aimed at helping small businesses and public authorities that cannot afford the relevant services.

“The idea is that by using talented students we can begin to address gaps by going into a company for a day or two to do some training and help them get policies and tech controls right,” he said. “The students can start to build their real world experience and it will make the expertise accessible for smaller organisations.

“We hope it will become trusted one stop shop for the cyber security journey if you don’t have the trusted expertise.”

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