Tayside councils have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in improving online safety and cyber security research.
Between January and November 2020, Dundee City Council spent £88,488 on cyber security and cybercrime prevention.
This includes £13,300 on firewalls, £10.861 on antivirus software, £21,333 on internet filtering, £25,494 on email filtering, and £17,500 on cyber support.
With the majority of council staff now working from home because of the coronavirus outbreak, the council says it is important it is doing everything it can to prevent cybercrime attacks.
A spokeswoman for Dundee City Council said: “The council maintains and renews multiple levels of cyber security to keep staff and data secure.
“Specifically, regarding virtual home working the council deploys technologies including virtual private networks, two-factor authentication tokens and firewalls which secure access and maintain council data within the council network.
“We fully recognise how important our cyber security is and we are doing everything we can to safeguard the council against attacks.”
Meanwhile Angus Council upped its spending on cyber security last year from £112,000 in 2019 to £302,000 in 2020.
A spokesman for Angus Council said: “The sum referred to includes spending on firewalls, filtering, anti-virus and malware protection, mail and cloud security protection.
“The greater expenditure reflects the increased demand and necessity for working remotely and the increased IT provision required to support our council services.
“Cyber security threats and the mitigations against them are constantly evolving.
“As such, Angus Council continuously reviews and updates technology, processes and training to protect its information and services.”
This comes after £11.7 million of funding through the Tay Cities Deal was signed off for a facility called the cyberQuarter at Abertay University in Dundee.
This will be topped up with £6.5m from the university and will provide a space for industry and academic experts to find solutions to modern day cyber security problems.
Dr Natalie Coull, head of the division of cyber security at Abertay University, said: “This is a hugely exciting time for Dundee’s cyber security sector, with the recent signing of the Tay Cities Region Deal signalling the green light for the £18m cyberQuarter project.
“The cyberQuarter will bring a new research and development centre to Abertay’s campus in Dundee, providing a space where industry, academics and students work together on new solutions to real world cyber security problems.
“The project is designed to attract existing cyber security firms to Dundee, support the creation of new companies and boost the security and resilience of the Scottish business community.
“There is currently a significant global shortage of skilled cyber security professionals and we believe this is an area with huge potential for growth in Dundee, building on the city’s international reputation for excellence in tech.
“In addition to leading the cyberQuarter project, Abertay has recently been confirmed as the first Scottish university to be awarded the gold-level academic centre of excellence in cyber security education recognition by the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ), further underlining Dundee’s credentials as Scotland’s cyber capital.”