Fergus Ewing named ‘cyber minister’ to tackle computer crime

ENTERPRISE Minister Fergus Ewing is to be responsible for the Scottish Government’s new plan to improve cyber security.

The announcement came at the eCrime Scotland summit in Edinburgh.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill told delegates it was vital to tackle the problem, which is said to cost Scottish businesses an estimated £5 billion a year.

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A group set up to tackle crime against businesses said the Scottish Government action would help put the country at the “forefront in the fight to halt e-crime”.

The Scottish Business Crime Centre is designed to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour which affects businesses and their customers.

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Executive director Mandy Haeburn-Little said the announcement of a “cyber minister” was an important step forward in dealing with the issue.

She spoke out after Mr MacAskill told the conference: “Cyber crime seriously harms businesses and individuals and it is vital we do all we can to tackle the threat of viruses, hacking attacks, fraud and other information security breaches.

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“The Scottish Business Crime Centre is leading on important work in this area and on behalf of the Scottish Government, I thank them for their efforts.

“At Government level, we are also developing a cyber security action plan to take forward a number of areas of work, overseen by Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, with responsibility for the wider cyber security agenda.”

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Ms Haeburn-Little said: “This announcement provides clear recognition of the scale and importance of cyber crime in Scotland.”

She said: “Cyber crime is not a fad or an issue solely for IT specialists, it is a clear and present danger for all businesses regardless of size or sector.”