NCSC’s email reporting service unearths 83 malicious web campaigns

Within a day after launching its ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’, the National Cyber Security Centre received over 5,000 complaints about suspicious emails and took down 83 malicious web campaigns.

Earlier this week, the National Cyber Security Centre launched a new scam reporting service to allow citizens to report fake, fraudulent and suspicious emails, including those that offered coronavirus-related services. Along with the email reporting service, NCSC also released a cyber awareness campaign which promotes recommended behaviours for people to stay as secure as possible online.

Within a day of launching new ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’, NCSC said it received over 5,000 complaints concerning suspicious emails for investigation and successfully shut down 83 malicious web campaigns. Citizens can continue to flag suspicious email scams by alerting the NCSC at report@phishing.gov.uk.

“The immediate take-up of our new national reporting service shows that the UK is united in its defence against callous attempts to trick people online. While we have not seen a rise in email scams in the last month, coronavirus is the top lure currently used to conduct cyber crime, exploiting public unease and fear of the pandemic,” said Ciaran Martin, chief executive officer of NCSC.

“We hope the success of the Suspicious Email Reporting Service deters criminals from such scams, but if you do receive something that doesn’t look right forward the message to us – you will be helping to protect the UK from email scams and cyber crime,” he added.

On Tuesday, NCSC also claimed that in the past thirty days, it removed more than 2,000 online scams related to coronavirus that included:

  • 471 fake online shops selling fraudulent coronavirus related items
  • 555 malware distribution sites set up to cause significant damage to any visitors
  • 200 phishing sites seeking personal information such as passwords or credit card details
  • 832 advance-fee frauds where a large sum of money is promised in return for a set-up payment

“Technology is helping us cope with the coronavirus crisis and will play a role helping us out of it - but that means cyber security 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,” said Martin.

Will LaSala, Senior Director of Global Solutions at OneSpan, said that we're unfortunately continuing to see attackers relentlessly exploit the ongoing pandemic to try and bait victims into falling for scams that can have devastating consequences, such as money being lost, personal details being stolen, or malware unknowingly installed.

"Consumers should be wary of clicking on links within emails, should always check the senders email address, and should know no trusted organisation would ever ask them to part with money via email.

"To ensure their customers are protected, banks and FIs need to be especially vigilant, and invest in dynamic fraud solutions that leverage machine learning and advanced risk analytics to identify abnormal user behaviour in real time. Furthermore, solutions that are capable of automatically operating at a lower level of trust during times of increased risk are best suited to help banks and FIs respond to the fast-paced nature of fraud during events like the Coronavirus outbreak," he added.

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