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Security hub launched as cybercrime doubles


Cyber security is rising up the agenda

Industry leaders have backed plans to create the first Scottish Cyber Security Innovation Hub, as new data shows cybercrime has nearly doubled over the last year.

ScotlandIS Cyber is leading the hub initiative which aims to put cyber resilience at the core of the economy’s digital transformation. 

The announcement came as official figures show police recorded an estimated 14,130 cybercrimes in 2020-21, a 95% increase from the previous year’s total of 7,240 recorded cyber-crimes.

Those figures included a year-on-year rise of 149% for online fraud, and a 152% rise in digital threats and extortion.  

Plexal has been awarded the contract to create the business case and strategy for the hub, following funding from Scottish Enterprise. 

The business case development is being supported by an advisory group which comprises a team of experts including Professor Bill Buchanan from Edinburgh Napier University, Peter Jaco (cyber investor and entrepreneur), Matt Little (ex-Zonefox CTO), Jamie Graves (ex-Zonefox CEO), representatives from Edinburgh Innovations, The Data Lab, CENSIS, Edinburgh University, Abertay University.

Once established, the hub will support early-stage cyber start-ups to grow their businesses, connecting them to potential new partners, collaborators and investors. Business guidance will also be provided as well as professional learning opportunities. 

Ciara Mitchell, cluster manager for Scotland’s cyber cluster at ScotlandIS, said: “COVID-19 has caused a significant shift in the scale and speed of digital adoption which presents us with a whole new set of cyber challenges and opportunities.

Ciara Mitchell: resources

“Approximately 10 new cyber companies are being launched in Scotland each year and it’s vital that we ensure that the necessary resources and support are available to help them flourish.

Saj Huq, director of innovation at Plexal, said: “Cyber innovation is thriving across the UK and Plexal’s excited to unlock the entrepreneurial, engineering and academic excellence that already exists in Scotland to accelerate the growth of its cybersecurity innovation ecosystem. 

“We will be exploring how a cyber innovation hub in Scotland can be more closely linked with similar clusters in Cheltenham, Manchester, London and many more so innovators can access all the investment, connections and opportunities that they need to grow.”

A number of industry partners have already come on board to show their support for the cyber innovation hub such as Cisco, Accenture, Iomart, Barrier Networks, NCC Group, Leonardo and more.

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