SOME of Scotland’s top young computer experts have been recruited to offer a new flagship service that will allow individuals and businesses to track private and potentially sensitive information that is available about them on the internet.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) believes the Cyber Footprint Assessment will help companies to counter e-crime threats as well as mounting an attack against the alarming growth of cyber intrusion and even harassment.
The SBRC has recruited some of the sharpest young graduates from Scotland’s world-renowned ethical hacking courses to go on the offensive against the shadowy figures that prey on firms and individuals over the internet.
The ground-breaking service identifies all information available on an individual or businesses online and offers a full report on any vulnerable information that increases the risk of becoming a victim of cyber intrusion or cyber crime. The expert team is also offering help to clean up the ‘footprints’, such as advice on how to remove personal information or images from websites and how to manage what information is out there and freely available.
Cyber harassment can take many forms including trolling, stalking and bullying and Scotland has seen an alarming increase of all of these in recent years; while e-crime – such as criminals getting access to sensitive and financial company information – is estimated to cost £5bn a year in Scotland.
The new SBRC footprint assessment for business leaders and companies is subsidised and utilises the leading expertise Scotland now holds in the subject due to world-renowned courses in ethical hacking offered at Glasgow Caledonian University and Abertay University in Dundee.
SBRC director, Mandy Haeburn-Little, said: “We’ve taken on several of the top graduates from the Ethical Hacking courses around Scotland and they are armed them with the latest tools to investigate cyber footprints.
“It’s the first time that a subsidised service provided by the tecky good guys will be widely available to help individuals make a choice about what personal information on them is out there.
“The unethical hackers who harass people online are often extremely smart and innovative in the methods they adopt, therefore to prevent it our team has to use the latest techniques and thinking, which we continue to evolve.”
Following the assessment, a report is provided illustrating the potential dangers of any information or photographs found that could lead to professional or personal cyber harassment. There is growing evidence that individuals and businesses are potentially exposing themselves to attack by posting information publicly on the internet, particularly through social media sites.
Mandy added: “I’ve seen the results of several of these trials now and they are a real eye-opener. You think that you are being guarded and secure, but by signing up to various sites and databases, there is so much information available about you that you cannot control.
“By launching this service we want to show that prevention is the best solution, therefore our team will give businesses and individuals the information and guidance they need to protect themselves.
“A routine individual assessment can take as little as a day, which would cost around £350, while more complex investigations taking two days would be closer to £1,000.”
A further service to help clean up the footprint is then available, which could involve removing items from LinkedIn or Facebook, but in the most extreme cases may involve highly-skilled confidential techniques to clean unwanted personal information from the internet.
The SBRC was set up with the objective of creating a secure Scotland for business to flourish, encompassing everything from cyber security to all aspects of premises and employee safety.
The cyber footprint assessment is the latest in a line of innovative business improvement solutions and support benefitting the SBRC partners and the business community in general.
Free guidance and advice on trolling, cyber stalking and cyber bullying is available on the SBRC website.
For more information on cyber harassment and the footprint assessment service, visit www.sbrc.co.uk.
Issued on behalf of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre by Holyrood Partnership on 0131 561 2244 or email@example.com
Additional information. ethical hackers
Movie characters who could be described as ethical hackers have appeared in Hollywood blockbusters for decades, from War Games and Tron in the 1980s, Goldeneye and Sneakers in the 90s to recent firms such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Die Hard 4.
Although ethical hackers have been around in some shape or form for many years, the term itself is more modern and describes a cyber-expert who puts their hacking abilities to good use.
Courses such as the degree at Abertay University and Glasgow Caledonian University have become more widely available around the world in recent years, but Scotland considers itself to be a leader in the expertise it now holds.
Abertay University runs a four-year BSc (Hons) course and a Masters offering students the chance to study the latest security flaws and how to counteract them with a view to helping individuals prevent the online threats of social media and businesses prevent unethical hacking that can lead to millions of pounds worth of damage.
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Contact: Melissa Clark