The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has unveiled the Cyber Aware campaign today (April 21), which is designed to inform users on how to protect themselves from cybersecurity threats.
The programme, which also offers a service to help people to report malicious activity, has been developed with support from the Home Office, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Advice and guidance will be offered to help people protect their devices, accounts and passwords from cyber attacks, while the new ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’ will help users to forward emails to the NCSC.
Commenting on the campaign launch, NCSC CEO Ciaran Martin said: “Technology is helping us cope with the coronavirus crisis and will play a role helping us out of it – but that means cybersecurity is more important than ever.
“With greater use of technology, there are different ways attackers can harm all of us. But everyone can help to stop them by following the guidance campaign we have launched today. But even with the best security in place, some attacks will still get through.
“That’s why we have created a new national reporting service for suspicious emails – and if they link to malicious content, it will be taken down or blocked. By forwarding messages to us, you will be protecting the UK from email scams and cybercrime.”
The cybersecurity centre will build on its existing malicious email removal services, which have removed more than 2,000 scams related to coronavirus in the last month, including over 450 fake online shops selling fraudulent COVID-19 related items.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge rise in scam and phishing attacks in the UK since the March 23rd lockdown.
Last week tech giant Google revealed it blocks 18 million scam emails relating to the virus from user Gmail accounts every day. The tech giant also said it has seen almost 100 million phishing type attacks and 240 million spam messages with COVID-19 related content since the beginning of the outbreak.
Minister for Security, James Brokenshire, commented: “Criminals are seeking to exploit our greater use of emails, video conferencing and other technologies for their advantage.
“It’s despicable that they are using the coronavirus outbreak as cover to try to scam and steal from people in their homes. We all have a part to play in seeing they don’t succeed.
“I encourage everyone to follow the Cyber Aware advice and to use the Suspicious Email Reporting Service. They provide important new ways in which we can protect ourselves as well as our families and businesses.”
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The ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’ has been co-developed with the City of London Police and allows users to forward any suspicious correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. NCSC’s automated programme will test the validity of the site.
Karen Baxter, commander of the City of London Police, commented: “Law enforcement is working closely with the government to ensure the public, and businesses, are as well-equipped as possible to fight online harms.
“This process will be greatly assisted by the new suspicious email reporting service which empowers the public and enhances police capabilities to step up their response to fraud.
“Officers have already executed a number of warrants across the country to target and disrupt criminals sending emails and texts designed to steal your money,” she added.