IP Wales® to launch new cybercrime initiative

A new Swansea University initiative to help Welsh SMEs protect themselves against cybercrime is to be launched by IP Wales, an award-winning business support initiative based at the College of Law and Criminology.

IP Wales, set up in 2002 to help support Welsh SMEs to commercialise their intellectual property (IP), is to create a new IP Wales Cybercrime Initiative2017-20 to provide support against the growing threat that cybercrime poses to SMEs in Wales.

Andrew BealeSpeaking ahead of his presentation at the 5th Annual MarkMonitor Anti-Piracy Conference held at BAFTA in London,  Andrew Beale OBE, Director of IP Wales and Associate Professor at the College of Law and Criminology said: “Our recent discussions with the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva highlighted the fact that SMEs are amongst the most vulnerable groups to cybercrime, next to children and senior citizens.  Whilst work is being undertaken by the Welsh Government in respect of the latter two groups, there is a need to fill the cybersecurity knowledge gap amongst IP active Welsh SMEs.”

IP Wales research conducted by Jane Foulser-MacFarlane (Legal Counsel for IP to the National Assembly for Wales) has revealed that SMEs in Wales have a general lack of awareness and understanding of digital security risks, such as distributed denial of service attacks, computer hacking, identity theft and phishing attacks.

The research also showed that:-

  • More than over 50% SMEs had been subjected to malware attacks
  • Only 1 firm allocated 10% or more of its IT budget for IT security
  • Over 80% did not scan staff emails for confidential information or have any controls over the use of USB sticks
  • 70% did not encrypt customer payment details.
  • Nearly 40% did not encrypt their wireless network.

To help to address this issue, the new IP Wales Cybercrime Initiative will have four main strands:

  • Awareness and understanding of IP Cybercrime
  • IP Cybersecurity
  • IP legal compliance issues
  • IP policing and enforcement issues

IP Wales will focus initially on producing a free IP cybersecurity guide, as part of a campaign to raise levels of awareness and understanding amongst SMEs on how best to protect their IP in the digital age.

Professor Beale said: “This kind of support is so important for small businesses, many of which have no indigenous IT Department, let alone being able to afford to pay for the expensive cybersecurity protection that governments and major corporations can.  SMEs in Wales are the bedrock of the Welsh economy and it is vitally important that support is available to them in order to safeguard themselves, their customers and suppliers from cybercriminals.

“As a Visiting Professor at Nanjing Normal University I will be visiting China next month to discuss plans for a new Sino-Wales IP Cybercrime Centre which holds out a lot of exciting opportunities.”