SCOTTISH charities and small firms are being urged to protect themselves from cyber crime, with a warning they are just as liable to be victims as big business.

The Scottish Government is making £500,000 available this autumn to help Scotland “towards our ambition to be a world-leading nation in cyber-resilience”.

The funding will help organisations achieve the National Cyber Security centre's Cyber Essentials certification in order to counter the most common forms on online attack.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “No organisation, however large or small, is immune. "Attacks are as real a risk to the small bakery or charity that relies on a database to operate effectively as they are to the multinational banking organisations in our financial districts.”

The government also published cyber-resilience plans for the private and third sectors.

David McNeill, Digital Director of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “Third sector organisations are trusted to make the best use of funds and keep personal data secure, but face the same threats from cyber criminals as everyone else."

BT’s Dave McClure, lead private sector representative on the National Cyber Resilience Leaders’ Board, added: "Cyber-crime increasingly crosses international borders and only by working together across multiple sectors can we combat the threats posed to our increasingly digital society.”