GCHQ launches coronavirus ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign

By 14th April 2020Blog

A new cross-governmental campaign has been launched by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), with offers advice to people to remain ‘Cyber Aware”, reminding the public to protect their passwords, accounts, and devices.

The NCSC, which is part of the Cheltenham based GCHQ, has also published advice for personal and professional use of video conferencing services, including tips on how to set up and account, arranging chats, and how to protect your device, reports Computer Weekly.

A new ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’ will make it easy for the public to report and forward suspicious emails to the NCSC, including the rise of scam emails which pertain to offer services related to the current pandemic.

This is building on the organisations existing services, which have already removed over 2,000 online coronavirus related scams 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 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.”

Minister for Security James Brokenshire said: “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.”

The Cyber Aware campaign will be delivered by the NCSC working alongside the Home Office, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and will aim to help individuals and organisations protect their data passwords, the accounts they protect and the devices they use to access them.

This Suspicious Email Reporting Service has been developed in partnership with the City of London Police. By forwarding any dubious emails – including those claiming to offer support related to COVID-19 – to report@phishing.gov.uk, the NCSC’s automated programme will immediately test the validity of the site. Any sites found to be phishing scams will be removed immediately.

As well as taking down malicious sites, it will support the police by providing live time analysis of reports and identifying new patterns in online offending – helping them stop even more offenders in their tracks.

If you have cyber security concerns and need IT experts and support in Doncaster, then get in touch today.

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