- Just two months after the National Cyber Security Centre launched the Suspicious Email Reporting Service it has received one million reports
- Fake cryptocurrency investment lures make up more than half of all online scams detected as a result of reporting from the public
- Public thanked for their contribution and encouraged to stay vigilant as cyber criminals continue to seek out opportunities
AN influx of cryptocurrency investment scams is among a range of online threats which have been blocked as a result of more than 1 million suspect emails being reported by the public in just two months.
More than half of the 10,000 online links to scams blocked or taken down by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) with the help of the public relate to cryptocurrency schemes, where investors are typically promised high returns in exchange for buying currency such as Bitcoin.
The scams have all been detected since the launch in April of the Suspicious Email Reporting Service, a pioneering tool which allows the public to forward suspect emails which may link to fraudulent websites.
The service, which was launched as part of the Government’s Cyber Aware campaign, has seen a massive response from the public, receiving a daily average of 16,500 emails and now reaching the milestone of one million.
While cryptocurrency scams – which cost the public millions of pounds annually – have been the main scam detected, there have also been numerous examples of fake online shops and spoofs involving brands such as TV Licensing, HMRC, Gov.uk and the DVLA.
NCSC Chief Executive Officer Ciaran Martin, said:
“Reaching the milestone of one million suspicious emails reported is a fantastic achievement and testament to the vigilance of the British public.
“The kind of scams we’ve blocked could have caused very real harm and I would like to thank everyone who has played their part in helping make the internet safer for all of us.
“While it’s right that we should celebrate reaching this milestone, it is important for all of us to remain on our guard and forward any emails that don’t look right to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden, said:
“We are committed to making the UK the safest place to be online and are working tirelessly to defeat cyber criminals.
“I urge everyone to continue reporting suspicious emails and follow our Cyber Aware campaign top tips for staying secure online alongside our worl-leading National Cyber Security Centre advice.”
The Suspicious Email Reporting Service was launched as part of the Cyber Aware campaign, which promotes protective behaviours to keep your online accounts and your devices as secure as possible.
To use the reporting service, people are asked to simply forward suspect emails to email@example.com. If they are found to link to malicious content, it will be taken down or blocked, helping prevent future victims of crime.
Latest figures show that 10% of the scams were removed within an hour of an email being reported, and 40% were down within a day of a report. 10,200 malicious URLs linked to 3,485 individual sites have been removed thanks to the 1 million reports received.
The Suspicious Email Reporting Service was co-developed with the City of London Police. As well as taking down malicious sites it will support UK policing by providing live time analysis of reports and identifying new patterns in online offending – helping them stop even more offenders in their tracks.
Commander Karen Baxter, from the City of London Police, said:
“Phishing is often the first step in a lot of fraud cases we see. It provides a gateway for criminals to steal your personal and financial details, sometimes without you even realising it, which they can then use to take your money.
“Unquestionably, a vast number of frauds will have been prevented, thanks to the public reporting all these phishing attempts. Not only that, but it has allowed for vital intelligence to be collected by police and demonstrates the power of working together when it comes to stopping fraudsters in their tracks.”
BT, which works with the NCSC on a number of initiatives, welcomed the reaching of the 1 million reports milestone.
Kevin Brown, Managing Director of BT Security, said:
“The last few months have changed the way we use technology throughout our daily lives, it is therefore critical that we follow security best practice to protect ourselves from cybercrime.
“We are proud to be working with the NCSC to keep the UK safe online during these uncertain times.”
Cryptocurrency investment scams have been recognised as a growing problem, leading to millions of pounds in losses annually as scammers masquerading as a crypto exchanges or traders trick people into handing over money.
If people have lost money, they should tell their bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud, but sending emails to firstname.lastname@example.org will offer an automated service to people who flag what they think to be a suspicious email and prevent others from falling victim to these scams.