Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry | 3. Cyber Security
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3. Cyber Security

29 Jun 3. Cyber Security

A cyber hacker is nothing more than a bank robber using another weapon. His motivation is robbery and theft.’  –  L Collins

Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry members were recently invited by North Dorset Business Group (NDBG) to their talk about Cyber Security. This was delivered by Dorset Police Cyber Crime Unit.   It was an open and frank discussion with ample opportunity to ask the questions that inevitably came out of the talk.

This is a huge concern to all business and a scary 24% of those without any kind risk management in place assume they are too small or insignificant to be affected.  With the onset of digital platforms encroaching into all forms of business; from online shopping, data protection, GDPR and Making Tax Digital, it is apparent that our online security is becoming increasingly important.

What is Cyber Crime?

Google defines it as ‘a computer-oriented crime, a crime that involves a computer and a network. The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target.’

This opens up further questions as to what sorts of crime make a computer, owner or business vulnerable.  The list below includes but is not exclusive to the more common crimes.

Hacking – this is when a person or system gains access to a computer, digital device or network without permission or authorisation.  Once in your device, the hacker is able to access your cyber world and exploit your contacts or business.

Cyberstalking – is the continued use of threatening emails to a group, organisation or individual.  This may include accusations and threats to expose you to family, friends or the authorities if you don’t comply with their demands.

Phishing – this is where strangers try to obtain your personal details whilst purporting to be someone official or trustworthy.

Fraud / Identity Theft – this is where an individual uses someone else’s identity for financial or beneficial gain in a different name.

How can we protect ourselves as individuals and as businesses?

We may never completely eradicate cybercrime which is now the most common crime reported.   Unfortunately, criminals will always be one step ahead.  We can, however, prevent ourselves from falling victim or make it difficult for them to attack our cyberworld and move on to someone not as secure.

Over 80% of data breaches could have been prevented with a strong digital security policy.  This includes individuals as well as businesses.

As a business do you have a firewall? This is a system in place to prevent unauthorised access to your network.   It will include a policy of strong robust passwords that are changed regularly.

Passwords are the most common way for a data breach or cybercrime to occur.

In 2018, 123456 was used by 23.2 million people, that is the first place a hacker or cybercriminal will start.

Passwords are incredibly easy to break when using software to whiz through millions of possible words a nanosecond. These criminals all have the software and human nature is to make our password easy; we have to remember them all.

To borrow the example from the NDBG Cybertalk:

tottenham  – this password would be discovered instantly

tottenham1 – this password will take 1 day to discover

Tottenham1 – this password will take 8 months to discover

Tottenham1! – this password will take 400 years to discover

G’£cb12”DLPmZ3vX this password will take 41 trillion years to discover.


What is your password?

How long do you think it would take a cybercriminal to break it and hack your business network?


How often do you change your password?

For some businesses and Public Sector groups, monthly or even weekly password changes is just the normal run of the mill practice.  They cannot afford to have their data compromised.  Can you?

Another really great way to prevent unauthorised access is to use 2-factor authorisation.   This is when you log into anything you receive an email or text (sometimes a phone call) with a secure code.  The code is usually only available for a limited time.    This means that if someone is trying to access your account, they need you present for that limited time.

A golden rule for anyone is not to click on any link unless you are sure you know who it is from.  An email from a friend with just a link or with odd terminology should trigger alarm bells and should be deleted immediately.

If you get an email purporting to be official from BT, Apple, Microsoft, your bank, HMRC or any other big conglomerate check the senders address first.  If it is genuine it will come from support or help @bt…. or @apple….   Criminals are clever though because they can create similar email addresses so do further checks.  None of them will ask for personal details in an email.  Most of them already have the information so why ask again.    HMRC will not ask for your details to send you the refund they owe.  They still send cheques.

Banks will never give you the first 4 digits or even 8 digits of your bank card and expect you to complete the rest.   A genuine retailer already has your card details on their secure system and may ask for certain password digits but never the whole password.   There are millions of bank cards in circulation and all those issued within the last 2 – 3 years will have the same first 8 digits.

If you are unsure, call someone back on a number you look up not on the number they gave you.  Anyone genuine will be happy to wait.

For further information, there is a booklet called The Little Book of Cyber Scams produced by the Region Cyber Crime Unit.   If you would like a presentation from the Cyber Crime Unit for your business or even for a group please contact them directly on

Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry takes security seriously but we cannot give you any more help than to advise you of the possible dangers and push you in the direction to help yourselves.

‘True Cybersecurity is preparing for what is next, not what was last’ – Neil Rerup

Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry will hold their next meeting at 6 pm on  Wednesday 10 July when we will be assisting with the weeding working party in aid of South West in Bloom.   All members are invited to join us.

Promoting your business and raising your profile. #lovegillingham #ourtownyourbusiness