British Police Double Down On CyberAlarm

Police CyberAlarm is a free tool to help members understand and monitor malicious cyber activity and the system is designed to protect personal data, trade secrets and intellectual property. This service is made up of two parts: monitoring and vulnerability scanning. 

Police CyberAlarm acts as a “CCTV camera” monitoring the traffic seen by a member’s connection to the internet. It will detect and provide regular reports of suspected malicious activity, enabling organisations to minimise their vulnerabilities. The data collected by the system does not contain any content of the traffic.

Now, the National Cybercrime Programme  has announced that Pervade Software has been awarded the contract to develop and deliver the next iteration of Police CyberAlarm following a commercial tender process. 

Pervade Software, who are the providers of the current Police CyberAlarm system, were successful in the recent Open Procedure procurement and a new three-year contract to build on the functionality of the current product and enhance the offering to businesses and organisations. This new partnership will allow the system to increase the type and scope of data it can receive including the ability to receive suspicious activity from Member Organisations cloud infrastructure. 

Police CyberAlarm is funded by the UK Government and was initially launched as a new pilot in five regions in July 2020 and since been rolled out nationally with London and the South East being the latest regions to go live. 

“This is a great example of law enforcement and UK industry working in partnership to help businesses arm themselves with more knowledge and tools to better protect themselves against potentially devastating and costly cyber attacks”. Jonathan Davies, CTO of Pervade said.  

  • Police CyberAlarm helps businesses better understand the cyber threat they are facing daily with the average member  organisation reporting over 1000 suspicious incidents an hour into Police CyberAlarm. These individual reports are correlated and analysed across the PCA network, allowing targeted cyber security advice to our members.
  • Each month the member organisations can enable a Police CyberAlarm vulnerability scan of their external IP addresses and websites helping them identify know security issues on their network and information on how to fix them. This information has been used by the member organisations to mitigate vulnerabilities on the advice of Police Cyber Alarm.
  • This information gathered is helping cyber crime teams to build a much better understanding of the scale, types and clusters of cyber threats being aimed at businesses across England and Wales. Policing has been able to use the information collected to enable the local and regional cyber crime teams to proactively warn members of new emerging, recent and zero-day threats , including targeted advice to organisations based on the equipment that they use and the vulnerabilities found during the Police CyberAlarm scans. 

In one of many examples a member was suffering from sustained suspicious activity on a remote administration port. Following a joint investigation with the local Protect team, this activity was identified, and the situation resolved.  In another case, Police CyberAlarm detected a UDP amplification attack, a very potent attack method that turns an organisations own equipment against them, causing the member organisation’s own infrastructure to attack itself. In this the attack consumed the resources of their gateway appliances requiring them to be repeatedly restarted. 

Working with the Police CyberAlarm central team they were able to mitigate the effects of the attack stopping the attack from having any effect on their network. 

A current Police CyberAlarm Member has stated “Until an organisation becomes the victim of a significant cyber attack, they just don’t realise how costly the clean-up can be in term of the time it takes, the drain on resources, learning the lessons and then having to pay to improve their cyber resilience. "

For more information on Police CyberAlarm and to sign up visit: cyberalarm.police.uk   

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