Three police forces in London are to team up with a new Cyber Resilience Centre (CRC) to help protect small and medium-size businesses across the capital from cybercrime.
Almost £2bn has been lost to scammers in the past year, according to figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).
More than a third (35%) of small businesses sufered at least one breach of cybersecurity.
This could mean 250,000 buinesses in London have been victims.
Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), City of London Police and British Transport Police are teaming up with the CRC. The new partnership was launched today.
MPS Commander Catherine Roper said: “It is essential that we come together to help London businesses protect themselves against cybercrime.
“This crime type is rapidly increasing, and often initially unseen, and yet has devastating effects on businesses and individuals.
“The exciting launch of the new Cyber Resilience Centre supports a collaboration between key partners to support small and medium businesses across London from becoming victims to cyber-attacks.
“It also provides the vital platform to share best practice, knowledge and practical operational advice to ensure a strong defence to protect and prepare businesses from cybercrime.
“The Met is committed, with its partners, to do everything it can to tackle cybercrime – and today is a significant step forward.”
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden said: ““Far too many small businesses in the capital are impacted by cybercrime, with billions of pounds lost and thousands of lives impacted each year.
“Our new Cyber Resilience Centre will help businesses stay safe online and protect them from cyber criminals.
“This is all part of our work to build a safer, more prosperous city for everyone and I urge all businesses in London to sign-up and use the centre’s services.”
Chief executive officer of the Cyber Resilience Centre for London, Simon Newman, said: “I’m delighted to be bringing the launch of the Cyber Resilience Centre for London to City Hall.
“We’ve been generously supported by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, and it’s fantastic to be able to celebrate our shared vision together.
“I’m really ambitious about the future of the Cyber Resilience Centre for London.
“I want to see it grow as a partnership between policing, industry and academia; for us to be seen as a trusted, reliable partner to the Capital’s SME community; and for our Cyber PATH programme to produce consistently high-quality talent.
“In ten years’ time, I want to look back and be able to say that we have helped make London the safest city in the world to do business online.”
Cyber Resilience Centres receive an annual grant from the Home Office.
Chair of the City of London Police Authority Board, James Thomson, added: “We must ensure that the City and the wider national economy is one of the safest places to do business in the world. The London Cyber Resilience Centre will do just that – protecting the capital’s businesses and their customers, and helping to deliver a thriving economy.
“Becoming a victim of cybercrime ruins lives, whether it’s individuals or businesses that are the target and this is an enormous opportunity to make a difference, by preventing people from becoming victims in the first place.
“Reducing the vulnerability in our business community will ultimately protect us all.”
London businesses are being increasingly targeted by phishing, hacking and ransomware attacks, with cyber criminals keeping one step of the authorities in foiling their methods.
Industry leaders are warning that every organisation and business is a potential target for cyber criminals, with small and medium businesses are often hit harder by a loss of funds.