Cyber Helpline, a national charity dedicated to providing support and advice to victims of cybercrime and online bullying, will receive a big boost to its finances from the National Lottery Community Fund, which has awarded it £ 10,000 to support its work.
The helpline was founded a few years ago by security consultant and former head of marketing for Secureworks, Rory Innes, who saw a gap in support for cybercrime victims that was leaving millions of people falling through the breaches.
He established the service with the intention of connecting victims with some of the estimated 58,000 private sector security professionals currently working in the UK. The helpline now offers free and confidential emergency assistance to victims of cybercrime through its network of 50 volunteer cybersecurity experts and 24/7 guidance via an online chatbot.
But demand for their services has exploded in the past nine months, with huge spikes in online fraud and abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning the cost of running their services has skyrocketed as well.
“We are delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund has recognized our work in this way. Now, thanks to the National Lottery players, we will be able to help hundreds more victims of cybercrime in the UK and alleviate the severe emotional and financial burden caused by these attacks, “said Innes.
“At a time when the country is going through a national lockdown and economic difficulties amid layoffs and businesses closed, we see that our mission to create a country where cybercriminals don’t win is more important than ever.”
Online stalking victim
The Cyber Helpline will split the money between expanding its chatbot technology to offer tailored assistance for pandemic-related crimes and bringing in new volunteers to act as first responders. Currently, the team supports about 400 people each month, addressing issues such as harassment, lost devices, hacked accounts, online bullying and harassment, and revenge sextortion and pornography. Its aim is to help victims regain control of their lives after a cyberattack and learn how to secure their presence online.
“Stalking is like online murder,” said Linda, a recent online stalking victim who was aided by the service. “It is a terrible experience and I felt like I could never escape. The Cyber Helpline team helped me navigate an online world that I just didn’t understand. The way he worked in unison with the other parties involved and had a clear plan made me feel safe. He knew he was in good hands. Keep up the good work, this is a vital service for other stalking victims like me. “
Andrew Pitt, director of security channel managed services provider Saepio, who recently completed a 5k virtual fundraising run in support of The Cyber Helpline, added: “The Saepio team is incredibly passionate about giving back and we are proud to support The Cyber Helpline.
“We are committed to raising awareness for this significant cause, which helps members of the public who are victims of cybercrime, from ransomware attacks to hacked email accounts and cyberbullying.”