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Record number of online scams

National Cyber Security Centre significantly expands services to protect UK from record number of online scams

According to news release by NCSC.gov.uk, a record number of scams were removed from the internet in 2021 thanks to the Active Cyber Defence programme.

  • More than 2.7 million scams removed from the internet in 2021 thanks to GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre ramping up Active Cyber Defence programme
  • Fake celebrity endorsements and vaccine passports among the common scams taken down by NCSC’s pioneering service
  • Latest figures revealed at start of flagship CYBERUK conference, where key cyber security topics, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

A record number of online scams were removed from the internet last year thanks to the nation’s cyber experts significantly expanding the UK’s defences to push back against fraudsters, it was revealed.

At the CYBERUK conference, the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of GCHQ – disclosed that more than 2.7 million scam campaigns were stamped out in 2021, nearly four times more than in 2020.

The rise reflects the expansion of NCSC services to take down additional malicious online content, such as fake celebrity endorsement scams, rather than an increase in scams overall. The work has been complemented by reports from the public of suspicious emails, texts and websites, which have enabled the NCSC to remove even more scams.

Celebrity scams and bogus extortion emails were the most commonly removed but other themes used by scammers included NHS vaccines and vaccine passports and even in one instance impersonating the CEO of the NCSC Lindy Cameron. The findings represent some of the highlights in 2021 of the NCSC’s Active Cyber Defence programme, a pioneering initiative which prevents millions of cyber attacks from reaching UK citizens, critical infrastructure providers and organisations every year.

In 2021, the ACD programme continued to help the UK stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic while boosting the country’s collective cyber resilience.

The NCSC’s removed more than 1,400 NHS-themed phishing campaigns last year – an 11-fold increase on 2020 – as scammers tried to trick people with fake messages about the vaccine rollout and certificates.

Meanwhile, in one scam taken down, a scammer claiming to be NCSC CEO Lindy Cameron sent an email informing the recipient that the NCSC had stopped £5 million of their money being stolen and to get the funds back they were required to reply with personal information.

The overall increase in scam removals was largely due to the Takedown Service expanding to take down additional types of malicious online content over a prolonged period of time.

Read the full article here – provided by NCSC.gov.uk

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