A new action plan aimed at tackling cyber crime has been unveiled.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the The strategy, developed with industry experts on the National Cyber Resilience Leaders’ Board, aims to help make Scotland one of the safest places to live, work and do business.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the increasing reliance on digital technology could make companies and people “more vulnerable to the criminals who seek to exploit them for malicious purposes”.

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He added: “Digital technologies can help criminals to bully vulnerable people, sexually exploit children, steal intellectual property, or destroy critical infrastructure.

“I want us all to take steps to minimise these risks, so that Scotland becomes one of the safest countries in the world to live in and one of the most reliable places to do business with.

“This strategy sets out the actions we need to take to make Scotland a cyber resilient place to live, work and do business.”

Mr Swinney pledged the Scottish Government would “lead from the front, building our own cyber resilience and working with other public-sector organisations to make sure resilience is built in to digital public services”.

He added: “We will also be working with those who provide key services in the private and third sectors to encourage them to make sure they are cyber resilient.”

UK Government research showed that 74 per cent of small businesses and 90 per cent of large organisations had a security breach in 2015 – up from 60 per cent and 81 per cent respectively in 2014.