Masked computer hacker

Retail leaders have urged the government to put the industry at the centre of its new fight against cyber-crime.

Today saw the launch of the UK’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) - a public-facing part of GCHQ, which will look at tackling industry wide cyber-security issues.

The BRC branded the launch an “extremely encouraging development” and argued the NCSC should consider the retail industry as a “sector of strategic or significant economic importance”. It called for the new centre to include regular engagement with, and new levels of support for, the retail sector in its fight to stop internet fraud.

In February the consortium released a report claiming burgeoning waves of cyber-crime were at the heart of a surge in fraud cases. These represented more than a third of the cost of all crime against retailers, or over £200m, it said.

In October last year, the Ponemon Institute claimed the mean annualised cost of cyber-crime to large organisations in the UK was £4.1m a year, a 14% increase on 2014.

Hugo Rosemont, crime and security policy adviser at the BRC, said: “Today’s launch of the UK National Cyber Security Centre is a hugely positive development. “The retail industry should be seen as a core partner of the organisation and we stand ready to engage with the NCSC in a constructive manner.”

Digital and culture minister Matthew Hancock said: “In establishing the National Cyber Security Centre we are creating a body devoted to cyber-security and this will transform the UK’s approach to an issue that affects us all.

“We’ll do this by informing the entire business community and public sector about emerging threats, providing support when attacks happen and educating everyone on how best to stay safe online.”