After the United Kingdom launched its new cybercrime service to check suspicious messages related to coronavirus, over 5,000 emails were reported to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) within 24 hours. The agency said that more than 80 malicious web campaigns were taken down in a day following thousands of flagged emails were reported to NCSC.
The NCSC had urged people to flag such campaigns to their new Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) after experts witnessed a growth in the use of fake coronavirus-related services meant for harming the users. NCSC Chief Executive Officer Ciaran Martin said in a statement that the immediate take-up of UK’s new national reporting service shows that the country 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 cybercrime, exploiting public unease and fear of the pandemic,” said Martin.
As soon as online users forward dubious emails and websites to the related government’s email address, the automated programme tests the validity of such sites. According to the NCSC, any sites found to be phishing scams will be removed immediately. Minister for Security James Brokenshire said in a statement that technology is helping us to keep connected during this challenging period but scammers are cynically looking to exploit this too.
"The new email reporting service helps to combat this and the results so far show how valuable this tool is,” he added.
Fake emails and websites have become a major concern for the authorities due to the vulnerability of internet users during the pandemic. The uncertainty, anxiety and fear due to coronavirus have left users vulnerable to phishing scams and the UK government has asked people who have lost money due to such scams to tell their banks and report it as a crime to Action Fraud.
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