Fighting the scammers

A scam to defraud thousands of UK citizens using a fake email address spoofing a UK airport was one of a wide range of cyber attacks successfully prevented by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), says a new report.

The thwarting of the airport scam was one example in 2018 of how the UK’s active cyber defence (ACD) programme helped protect the public. The incident occurred last August, when criminals tried to send in excess of 200,000 emails purporting to be from a UK airport and using a non-existent address in a bid to defraud people.

The latest ACD report, measuring the impact made by the NCSC (which is part of GCHQ), found in 2018 it stopped 140,000 phishing attacks and took down 190,000 fraudulent sites.

A combination of ACD services has also helped HMRC’s own efforts in massively reducing criminals’ use of their brand. HMRC was the 16th most phished brand globally in 2016, but by the end of 2018 it was 146th in the world.

Here’s some other key findings from the second ADC report:

·In 2018 the NCSC took down 22,133 phishing campaigns hosted in UK delegated IP space, totally 142,203 individual attacks.

·14,125 UK government-related phishing sites were removed.

·The number of phishing campaigns against HMRC continues ton fall dramatically – with campaigns spoofing HMRC falling from 2,466 in 2017 to 1,332 in 2018.

·The total number of takedowns of fraudulent websites was 192,256, and across 2018 64% were taken down in 24 hours.