Two-thirds of the region’s SMEs have been cyber attack victims

Peter Nota, the global information security and compliance director at Leeds-based Premier Farnell

Peter Nota, the global information security and compliance director at Leeds-based Premier Farnell

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AROUND two thirds of Yorkshire’s small and medium-sized enterprises have been targeted by cyber criminals, a major security conference was told.

The Cyber Security North event, which was organised by the Leeds-based recruitment firm Fruition IT, attracted representatives from major companies such as Asda, Swinton Insurance, Northern Gas Networks, Leeds Building Society and Drax Power.

The speakers at the Met Hotel in Leeds included DCI Steve Thomas from the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Cyber Crime Unit and Peter Nota, the global information security and compliance director at Leeds-based Premier Farnell, who shared their views on prevention and education.

Mr Nota said: “It’s not enough to simply share stories of doom and gloom, instead you need to engage with employees and find the best way of stopping the ‘it will never happen to me’ mentality.”

Mr Thomas added: “Victims of cyber crime are no different to victims of physical crimes, such as theft and assault, and should be treated and supported in the same way. Those found guilty of these crimes should be charged and sentenced accordingly.”

The audience heard that 65 per cent of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in Yorkshire have been attacked by cyber criminals, with an average cost to the business of £65,000 to £115,000.

Around 90 per cent of these attacks were preventable, the conference heard.

Sarah Pawson, the managing director at Fruition, said yesterday: “It is really important that we are able to add some value to the Yorkshire tech sector where so many of our clients operate.”

Dave Pearcy, the information security manager at Asda, said: “The event has been proof of what a powerhouse the North really is.”

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