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13 Sep 2023

The Role of Cybersecurity in Combating Cybercrime and Online Harms

The Cyber Helpline estimates that there are 1.5 million victims of cybercrime and online harm in the UK every year, ranging from scams and fraud to cyberstalking and intimate image abuse.

Victim support services, law enforcement and advocates undoubtedly play an instrumental and valuable role in supporting those affected. However, supporting someone with a wide array of technical issues, evidence gathering, and online security requires a unique skill set. The evolving tactics employed by cybercriminals demand an adaptable and informed response that many organisations cannot provide on their own.

This is why The Cyber Helpline exists, a charity and movement by the cybersecurity community that fills the gap in technical support for victims of cybercrime and online harm. The need for the cybersecurity community to step in and fill the gap in this support arises from the unique challenges that victims of cybercrime face and the need for free, expert help in a specialised area.

Cybersecurity experts are in the ideal position to support these individuals, yet crimes and malicious acts happening against individuals online are often overlooked in the broad landscape of cybersecurity. It’s important to recognise and understand that the skills the industry possesses can have an incredible impact on the lives of millions of individuals.

Cybercrime against individuals is unique. It has unique challenges and impacts when compared to offline crimes; over 83% of individuals have lessened online confidence as a result of cybercrime and online harm. This lack of confidence, combined with self-research into what is going on, exasperates hypervigilance. A simple online search for the symptoms of a hacked social media account can quickly immerse someone into a world of information on spyware, IP spoofing and Remote Access Trojans. To understand what is really happening to them, victims are forced to navigate a world of cybersecurity and take in information that cybersecurity professionals spend years learning.

This is where the invaluable role of cybersecurity experts comes in; their knowledge equips them with the much-needed ability to support the individual in navigating the issue, diagnosing the extent of the problem and supporting them in gathering evidence and getting back to safety.

Of course, these types of cybercrime are also unique from the typical cybersecurity incidents professionals deal with day to day. 80% of individuals who experience a cybercrime or online harm feel that their physical safety is lessened as a result due to things like location tracking, surveillance devices, online threats and the anonymity of the threat actor. Ensuring the physical safety of the individual is vital, and this, among other areas, is where other agencies work is vital. However, by cybersecurity professionals becoming ingrained in the victim support ecosystem, threats can be navigated more effectively with the minimisation of escalating harmful or criminal behaviour.

 

Cybercrime and online harm have a violent impact on victims, and the cybersecurity industry holds knowledge that can empower and educate individuals, improve responses to these crimes, and change lives as educators and advocates. Collaboration between cybersecurity, law enforcement and victim support agencies is powerful and possible - cooperation has the power to create a world where cybercriminals don’t win. 

Find out how you can get involved and support victims of cybercrime at International Cyber Expo (London Olympia) on the 26th and 27th of September 2023. You can meet The Cyber Helpline team in the Community Village. 

To register for FREE, visit: https://ice-2023.reg.buzz/eskenzi
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