Improving our cyber resilience

2nd December 2015

A new strategy providing a framework to help build a cyber-resilient Scotland has been launched by Deputy First Minister John Swinney at the National Economic Forum in Edinburgh today.

Digital technology brings huge benefits to the country, but they can also be used by criminals to defraud people and businesses, steal intellectual property, bully vulnerable people, or damage critical infrastructure.

Safe, Secure and Prosperous: A Cyber Resilience Strategy for Scotland – a Programme for Government commitment – maps out how individuals and businesses can increase their online resilience and enable Scotland to become a world leader in cyber resilience.

Following a public consultation earlier this year, the strategy aims to ensure that by 2020 Scotland can claim to have achieved desired outcomes, including:

  • Our people are informed and prepared to make the most of digital technologies safely
  • Our businesses and organisations recognise the risks in the digital world and are well prepared to manage them
  • We have a global reputation for being a secure place to live and learn, and to set up and invest in business

Focusing on four strategic themes of: leadership and partnership working; awareness raising and communication; education, skills and professional development; and research and innovation, the strategy sets out a series of high level priorities for key partners to develop and implement across Scotland.

For everyone, including businesses, there are some simple steps to become safer online. These include:

  • creating strong passwords
  • keeping software updated as these contain important security upgrades
  • installing anti-virus software
  • protecting mobile technology by using screen locks and passwords
  • securing wi-fi networks and thinking carefully before sharing private details on public wi-fi
  • ensuring firewall settings are turned on

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“The growth of the internet and other digital networks has brought speed, agility, efficiency and access to technologies that have transformed the way we do business, socialise and provide key services.

“Individuals and businesses increasingly rely on online connectivity, and thanks to widening trade partners, more innovation and greater competition, this is helping to grow our economy.

“Cyber-attacks can happen to any individual or organisation no matter of size or geography. It has been estimated that as much as 80% of cyber-crime can be prevented by getting the cyber basics right such as updating software, good passwords and regular system backups.

“We have a responsibility to ensure people in Scotland are educated and empowered to exploit digital opportunities for their personal and professional development whilst having the skills to protect themselves from harm and exploitation online. This strategy is the first step in achieving that goal.”

Mandy Haeburn-Little, Director at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, said:

"Today is a really important day for Scotland in that this is the first time when we can really look together towards a more digitally secure Scotland . Scotland has such a proud and renowned name for innovation and digital opportunities in our businesses and homes are all about embracing this and making it happen in a way that is right for Scotland.

“The consultation across Scotland that formed this strategy clearly shows we want to embrace opportunity and make Scotland more resilient, effective and more accessible. We want to make Scotland an even better place to live, work and invest. Looking after every element of our community is a big part of the strategy, ensuring that children, the elderly and the more vulnerable in our society also have support and access to digital opportunity is key.

“I am really delighted to see this strategy launched - it is ambitious, inclusive and far reaching and that is exactly what we need". “

Safe, Secure and Prosperous: A Cyber Resilience Strategy for Scotland can be found here

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