Over 10 million suspicious emails have been reported to National Cyber Security Centre's (NCSC) Suspicious Email Reporting Service, resulting in 76,000 online scams being taken down.
Launched almost two years ago, the reporting service enables members of the public to alert the authorities about potential cyberattacks and scams.
Scams relating to the NHS, fake notifications from delivery companies, phony cryptocurrency investments and more have all been taken down after being reported by the public to the NCSC, the cybersecurity arm of intelligence agency GCHQ.
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The reporting service – where users can forward suspected malicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org – was launched at the start of the pandemic as the UK went into lockdown, forcing people to rely on digital services more than ever before.
Cyber criminals attempted to take advantage of this situation by sending out scams and phishing emails to unsuspecting users – and continue to do so. The aims of these attacks can include stealing usernames and passwords, as well money and bank details.
While the takedown of 76,000 online scams marks a success for NCSC, phishing and other cyberattacks continue to be an issue – according to the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales, there was a 161% increase in unauthorised access to personal information offences, including hacking, during the past year.
In order to help protect people against this threat, the cybersecurity agency is launching a new campaign encouraging individuals to be cyber aware and to properly secure their email and other online accounts.
People are encouraged to create strong passwords made up of three random words and to apply multi-factor authentication on their accounts. Both of these simple steps can help protect online accounts from being hacked.
"The British public's response to our Suspicious Email Reporting Service has been incredible and led to the removal of thousands of online scams. But there is even more we can do and by following our Cyber Aware steps to secure online accounts – starting with email – people will dramatically reduce risks including financial losses and personal data breaches," said Lindy Cameron, chief executive of NCSC.
"We all have a role to play in our collective cybersecurity and I urge everyone to follow our Cyber Aware advice to make life even harder for the scammers," she added.
The NCSC has dedicated advice pages on creating strong passwords and setting up multi-factor authentication.