Hundreds of Staffordshire business and industry champions came together to be given the full low-down on the dangers of cyber-crime – in the first event of its kind in the county.
The Online Fraud Conference, held at the Staffordshire Showground, was organised by the deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire Sue Arnold to address the fastest growing form of crime.
Among the guests present, at the event hosted by TV personality Joanne Malin, were representatives from major sporting institutions in Staffordshire, leading educational centres, well-known county-based brand and commercial leaders. There was also significant interest from outside the region.
The audience heard the story of Cal Leeming, who began hacking at just 10-years-old but has, following reform, gone on to work with law enforcement agencies as a security advisor. His cautionary tale showed how vulnerable we all are and the importance of the correct security measures to protect yourself online.
The event also included a presentation by Staffordshire firm Intaforensics, who staged a live hack to reveal just how easy it is to fall foul of online fraud.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold said: ‘The nature of crime is changing and we must do all we can to adapt. Online attacks can destroy a business very quickly, which has taken years of hard work to build and more needs to be done to protect businesses from these kind of threats.
‘We wanted to reach out to leaders of industry, business and retail to try to prevent and raise awareness of the dangers of online fraud.
‘This conference highlighted the simple tactics hackers use to gain information both online and in person in order to steal your details for their own gain. We have received great feedback from guests who now feel more confident that they know how to protect themselves online.’
Online fraud is a huge and increasing problem with nearly 2 million estimated incidents (and victims) of cyber-related fraud last year with a staggering £10.9 billion lost to the UK economy as a result of fraud, including cyber crime, in 2015/16.
In a Staffordshire survey carried out by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner it was found that 62,000 internet users in Staffordshire were victims of at least one cyber crime –with only 12% of these reporting it to police.