Interview: UK and Global Focus to #BeCyberSecure (an interview with Andy Bates)

Today we catch up with Andy Bates, GCA Executive Director for UK, Middle East, and India. We last interviewed Andy six months ago and so much has happened since then, both on Andy’s patch and globally.

Hola, Andy, and welcome back!

Thanks Ale and great to be back after a full on day in London yesterday

It was a great busy day, right? We are very excited about the result. :star_struck:

Let’s go with some questions.

If you were in London yesterday you will maybe have noticed the iconic BT Tower displaying our logo alongside the messages to #BeCyberSecure throughout the day - can you explain more?


(Just incase you missed it!)

Yes, we had originally planned to hold an in-person event at the BT Tower on 9 September, a combination of workshops addressing some of our global ‘in development’ projects from a technical and funding perspective alongside partners and collaborators. Moving these online would have proved challenging because of the depth of engagement we were seeking to obtain. So rather than focus on the global technological projects we are undertaking to address the problem at source we switched our focus to how we could get London & the UK talking about cybersecurity and taking action to better secure themselves. We lit up BT Tower and released a series of interviews throughout the day under banner #BeCyberSecure

And how did that go?

We had a number of themes running throughout the day, each approaching cybersecurity from a different perspective but all intrinsically linked - I believe we all have a duty (of care) whenever we work, rest or play online and we should all play our part in making the internet a safer place for all. There is much support out there, we discuss what the industry is doing, what businesses can do and how individuals can become more cyber secure:

You can find out more about the activity and watch the series of videos here: GCA Lights Up London’s BT Tower - GCA | Global Cyber Alliance | Working to Eradicate Cyber Risk

And what about your view?

Everyone is at risk however they use the internet but there are some simple straightforward steps anyone can take that will help reduce your chances of becoming a victim. We are very lucky in the UK - there is alot of readily available, free to use support and advice out there such as information provided by NCSC ( https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/ ) and Take Five ( https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/ ) and many others.

One simple change anyone can do is to use Quad9 ( www.quad9.net ) to help protect themselves against malicious websites - it’s really simple to set up on a laptop, tablet, phone or router. Also, if you are a business implementing DMARC on your email domain helps with email security. (We have a DMARC Bootcamp starting on 15 Sep to help deploy).

Straightforward, simple steps that are built into a routine and become standard practice - it’s important cyber hygiene and it’s free! Our Cybersecurity Toolkit for Small Business is full of free resources that can be implemented by small businesses ( GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit for Small Business | Sponsored by MasterCard ) and of course the forum is here to help answer any questions or discuss any cyber related topic.

That’s great, Andy. And the BT Tower is such an iconic building!

Yes although London was pretty empty it was exciting to see our name in lights and the important message displayed across London to Be Cyber Secure (particularly with my background in telecoms!). We are extremely grateful to BT for making this possible and for the continuing and extensive technological support they contribute to our work. BT have been a significant contributing partner since our founding and, alongside many other valued partners, are heavily committed to our mission.

You mentioned projects in development. Can you talk a little about those and how the community can get involved?

We are working with organisations such as ICANN & London based CentralNIC to help to ensure the internet becomes a safer place. This is mainly focussed on helping to identify web sites (domains) which criminals are building deliberately to facilitate cyber crime and fraud. We are also looking at ways to expand and improve our first mission which was getting more companies to use DMARC. Next year we hope to run the BT Tower event again but to meet face to face, we are keen to hear what the industry wants. As we said earlier we are keen to work with telco’s to allow customers to get the cleaner internet they deserve. This is why we worked with World Economic Forum earlier this year alongside BT & other telcos/ISPs with a paper published at Davos.

Impressive. It’s good that we caught up!

Yesterday’s action at BT Tower was spectacular, but it is also amazing to see how much you have going on in your region.

Nice talking to you. Cheers from Brussels, and talk to you soon! ¡Hasta pronto!

Thanks again and thanks to our partners who helped us on the day including Lloyds Banking Group, NCSC, CentralNIC, Vivida, Neira Jones and of course BT for participating and letting us take over their amazing location for the day.

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