Public Urged to Flag Coronavirus Related Email Scams as Online Security Campaign Launches

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, has launched the cross-governmental ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign along with the pioneering ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’.

This will build on the organisation’s existing takedown services, which have already removed more than 2,000 online scams related to coronavirus in the last month, including;

  • 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

NCSC Chief Executive Officer 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.''

Stay home. Stay Connected. Stay Cyber Aware

The campaign's top tips are:

  1. Turn on two-factor authentication for important accounts

  2. Protect important accounts using a password of three random words

  3. Create a separate password that you only use for your main email account

  4. Update the software and apps on your devices regularly (ideally set to ‘automatically update’)

  5. Save your passwords in your browser

  6. To protect yourself from being held to ransom, back up important data

The NCSC encourages businesses to forward any suspicious emails to and the automated programme will immediately test the validity of the site. This includes emails claiming to offer services related to coronavirus.

As well as taking down malicious sites, forwarding emails will support the police by providing live-time analysis of reports and identifying new patterns in online offending.

Any businesses that have become victims of online crime and lost money such report this straight away to Action Fraud as well as informing the bank about the issue.

The Cyber Resilience Centre for Greater Manchester is using its unique position working in partnership with Greater Manchester Police and local cyber experts to support the region's business community. This is via their membership offer that helps businesses improve their resilience to online crime.

Detective Superintendent Neil Jones from Greater Manchester Police says “We are working closely with Government, the Private Sector and Universities to ensure local businesses, are supported to fight online harms.''

Have any questions about cybersecurity? Then we would love to hear from you! Get in touch with us here.

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