The Metropolitan and City of London Police have thrown their weight behind a new national scheme to help businesses improve their cyber security.

National police crime-prevention initiative Secured by Design (SBD) is working with the London Digital Security Centre (LDSC) on a pilot of what is the first police-backed cyber security certification scheme in the UK.

Both the Met and the City of London Police are supporting the project, along with the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, Computer Weekly reports.

The certification scheme has been designed to help businesses improve their cyber security and demonstrate they have taken steps to safeguard the information they possess.

According to figures from the LDSC, almost half of the UK's small businesses have fallen victim to cyber crime in the last year.

However, chief commercial officer Chris Diogenous stressed that the "overwhelming majority" of cyber attacks could be prevented using simple precautions.

"For the first time, UK businesses can demonstrate that they have taken the necessary measures to protect the data they hold and reduce their overall vulnerability to cyber crime,” he stated.

Guy Ferguson, chief executive officer at SBD, added that police crime prevention initiatives have "always responded to developing and emerging crime patterns with innovation and creativity".

He said the organisation is therefore "delighted" to be working closely with the LDSC to develop new techniques that will "better support people and businesses online".

The first award available under the certification scheme, the Secured by Design – Police Preferred Specification, will scrutinise cyber security suppliers to ensure resilience across the supply chain.

The second is entitled Digitally Aware – Secured by Design and helps SBD members learn some of the basic security procedures they can implement, as well as use a risk assessment tool to get an idea of how vulnerable they currently are to a security breach.

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