Britain’s security minister has given his backing to Scotland’s efforts to combat business cyber fraud on a visit to Edinburgh.

Tom Tugendhat, MP, visited Edinburgh to meet with cyber and policing experts to discuss areas of support for protecting Scottish businesses from online crime.

Mr Tugendhat, a former army officer, visited the new offices of the Cyber and Fraud Centre – Scotland where he met staff and senior officers from Police Scotland.

It followed an announcement last week by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) urging businesses to strengthen their cyber defences.

Mr Tugendhat learned of the initiatives supported by the Cyber and Fraud Centre – Scotland, including a ‘triage hub’ launched last May.

The hub aims to bring cybersecurity partners, including Police Scotland, leading financial institutions and Cyber Fraud Centre – Scotland’s incident response team together to collaborate, share intelligence, disrupt large criminal gang activity, deliver support to victims and recover stolen funds. 

During its trial period, the hub worked on cases totalling almost £10 million of fraudulently obtained money by collaborating and liaising with high street banks including Barclays, NatWest, Lloyds, Metro and HSBC. 

Jude McCorry, CEO at Cyber Fraud Centre – Scotland said: “Hosting the UK security minister, Mr Tugendhat, at the Cyber and Fraud Centre was a real pleasure. With the latest announcement made by the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Centre to encourage UK businesses to strengthen their cybersecurity, it is essential that initiatives like the triage hub and our free incident response line continue to offer vital support to our business community. 

“18,000 fraud calls are received by Police Scotland each year with around 95 per cent being cyber-enabled and committed using an online device, demonstrating an increase in demand for cyber security support as the threat of cyber-attacks and fraud persists for organisations across the UK.”

Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett, Police Scotland’s lead for its Policing in a Digital World Programme, said: “The visit by the UK’s Security Minister recognises the important role played by Police Scotland, the Cyber and Fraud Centre and other partners, including our national law enforcement colleagues, in tackling the increase in cybercrime and fraud across the country, not just Scotland. 

 “The nature of criminality continues to change, and we know criminals will take every opportunity to exploit our communities. Police Scotland is also changing and continues to work in partnership with organisations such as the Cyber and Fraud Centre to advise businesses and the wider community on how to prevent becoming a victim of cybercrime and investigate any reported crimes.

“The recent success of the Cyber and Fraud triage hub shows what can be done and underlines the collective commitment to keeping people and businesses safe in the digital world while continuing to disrupt the activities who commit crimes in this environment.”