CGI’s Cyber Escape Experience Visits Belfast to Help NI Public Stay One Step Ahead of Cyber Criminal

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In response to the exponential increase in cyber-crime and its detrimental impact on our economy and society, CGI, one of the largest independent IT and business consulting services firms in the world, which established a Digital Centre of Excellence in Belfast last year, has brought its ‘Cyber Escape Experience’ to Northern Ireland for the first time.

The immersive and interactive experience, which models an escape room packed with cyber security themed puzzles and challenges, was sited at Custom House Square in Belfast City Centre. During the visit it was offered freely to schools, colleges, community groups and business organisations to learn more about cyber security and leave with practical skills to combat this issue. Throughout the week, CGI welcomed local school children, university students and researchers, representatives from the age sector including Age NI and the Commissioner for Older People, as well as representatives from the local business community and justice sector. They all participated in a simulated “real-life” setting housed in a purpose-built shipping container to accomplish cyber-related tasks to enable them to escape the room successfully in the allotted time.

Latest Action Fraud figures suggest that in the last 13 months there have been nearly 6, 000 reported cases of cyber-crime in Northern Ireland resulting in a huge financial loss of £24m across individuals and organisations, particularly among our most vulnerable groups. The records show that the highest number of cases reported based on age came from the 20-29 years old age group, however, the highest average financial loss per report was from the 70-79 years-old age group. This would indicate the need for all demographics to be educated further on the importance of cyber security and how to stay ahead of the cyber criminals.

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With these statistics in mind, Michelle Sherrard, Director Consulting Services for CGI in Northern Ireland outlined the purpose of the Cyber Escape Experience visit to Belfast: “The first line of defence in keeping everyone digitally safe is making sure everyone is cyber security aware. CGI is encouraging more vigilance and better awareness when it comes to cybersecurity and the Cyber Escape Experience presented a unique opportunity for individuals of all ages to hone their skills in a safe and fun environment whilst learning more about protecting themselves and their organisations when online.

Michelle Sherrard, Director CGI with Millenium PS pupils.Michelle Sherrard, Director CGI with Millenium PS pupils.
Michelle Sherrard, Director CGI with Millenium PS pupils.

“As a relatively new entity in Northern Ireland, CGI is committed to helping the people of Northern Ireland become cyber security aware and we believe that we can use our expertise and resources to help them stay safe online.”

Chris Shorthouse, Vice President, Client Engagement, Scotland & Northern Ireland added: “We live in a highly computer literate world, but things evolve and change very quickly, and we know that cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated all the time. In response to that reality, more needs to be done to educate people on how to protect themselves and their business interests online. Our Cyber Escape Experience has proven very popular and beneficial across the rest of the UK, and we were very pleased to bring it to Northern Ireland for the first time. Working with partners and local stakeholders we believe it can help reinforce their efforts to protect people of all ages and backgrounds from the cyber criminals.”