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Global Cyber Alliance celebrates five years of operations

16 September 2020

THIS MONTH marks the five-year anniversary of the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), a global non-profit organisation co-founded in 2015 by the City of London Police. In the time since its inception, the GCA has developed a global partnership of 250-plus organisations, as well as launching a range of initiatives designed to tackle cyber crime.

The need for partnership and collaboration between organisations is arguably now greater than ever as the impact of COVID-19 continues to drive increases in cyber attacks. The national lead force for fraud which runs Action Fraud, the City of London Police received 3,916 reports of cyber crime during the first month of lockdown alone. These reports equated to £2.9 million in reported losses, representing an increase of almost 72% when compared to the previous month.

On 9September, the GCA addressed cyber security issues facing the UK in a virtual event featuring speakers from the City of London Police, BT, the National Cyber Security Centre, the Lloyds Banking Group and CentralNic. As part of this initiative, the BT Tower in London featured a series of cyber security protect messages encouraging individuals and businesses to be safe and vigilant online.

Growing trend

 Ian Dyson, Commissioner of the City of London Police, said: “We want to make the UK the safest place to be online, and we’re working tirelessly to defeat cyber criminals. Cyber crime is a growing trend, with total losses increasing. In particular, criminals are targeting social media users and online account holders in a bid to make money and steal personal details.”

Dyson continued: “We work closely with our partners, individuals and businesses to tackle the threat of cyber crime. Our specially trained officers lead regular free events designed to improve people’s knowledge of cyber crime and the measures they can take in order to protect themselves.”

Further, Dyson stressed: “It’s essential that people, and especially businesses, report incidents of cyber crime to Action Fraud so that we can build up a clear picture of the latest threats and give the best advice on how to avoid falling victim to cyber criminals.”

Strength of partnerships

Andy Bates, executive director for the UK, the Middle East and India on behalf of the GCA, observed: “The GCA’s approach to addressing cyber crime is based on strength of partnerships. We thank BT, the City of London Police, the National Cyber Security Centre, Lloyds Bank and everyone who has participated in and supported our event.”

Bates added: “This is a mark in time, commemorated by the GCA logo and message on the iconic BT Tower, but the collaboration and dedication of our partners when it comes to protecting individual citizens, businesses and our Government from cyber attacks is an ongoing effort that happens every day of the year. I would like to thank them for their partnership and dedication to making the UK and the global Internet a safer and more secure place.”

Collaborative work

Kevin Brown, managing director of BT Security, explained: “Cyber crime affects us all at an individual, organisational and national level, and we need take every opportunity to work collaboratively to tackle the issue. Partnerships across the private and public sector are an absolutely crucial part of how we protect BT and our customers. By sharing threat intelligence and security Best Practice, we can make it much more difficult for cyber criminals to be successful.”

Brown concluded: “The Global Cyber Alliance is a great way of enabling this collaboration between a wide range of organisations. It continues to provide clear support and operational enhancements that benefit the entire security ecosystem.”

Brian Dilley, director of fraud and financial crime prevention at the Lloyds Banking Group, informed Security Matters: “Helping to keep our customers’ money safe is our priority. Joining forces with the GCA is part of our commitment to protecting customers by improving the cyber ecosystem and helping to make the digital environment a safer place in which to do business. Working together across the sectors helps to up the ante in the fight against cyber attacks.”

Global DNS service

Since its inception, the GCA has launched Quad9, a global DNS service that, on average, blocks in excess of 60 million malicious domains in a day. It has tackled phishing and business e-mail compromise through its work to address e-mail security, and also provided free cyber security toolkits for small businesses in English, German, French and Spanish.

To address the role of the global pandemic in raising levels of cyber crime, the GCA (along with 23 partner charities) developed the ‘Work from Home, Secure Your Business’ campaign to help businesses quickly navigate the security issues of having their workforce ‘move’ to the home office environment since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.