The National Center for Cyber ​​Security (NCSC), a division of the spy agency GCHQ, helped stop a record 2.7 million online frauds in 2021, four times more than the previous year.

The most common scams were the presentation of celebrities and fake emails for extortion, although the scammers used several other topics, including NHS vaccinations and vaccine passports – and in one particularly daring case, posing as NCSC CEO Lindy Cameron. .

NHS-related fraud was particularly common due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, the NCSC removed more than 1,400 phishing efforts related to the NHS, an 11-fold increase over 2020, including false reports of vaccine distribution and certificates.

However, the massive increase in the total elimination of online fraud is due to the expansion of NCSC services to combat a wider range of fraud, rather than the overall increase in malicious content.

The fraud was investigated as part of the Active Cyber ​​Security Agency’s (ACD) program, which focuses on major attacks on individuals, companies and organizations.

NCSC says public reports of suspicious emails, messages and websites helped the agency in its work.

The new data comes when NCSC launches its annual CyberUK conference, bringing together cybersecurity experts to address key issues in the sector.

“When we launch CyberUK, the latest ACD data sheds light on how NCSC has responded to emerging trends in cyber threats and security issues to keep the UK safe on a large scale,” said Lindy Cameron.

“We know that fraudsters will go a long way, and indeed my name has been used to try to deceive people, but as we continue to expand our defenses, we can see the tangible impact it has.”

The figures highlight the “important interventions” the NCSC can make to eliminate online threats, deter attackers and strengthen the collective cyber resilience of society, according to Dr. Ian Levy, NCSC’s technical director.

In 2020, the NCSC eliminated more than 700,500 online scams, representing a total of more than 1.4 million URLs. The agency also introduced its “Suspicious Email Reporting Service” as part of the ACD and received nearly 4 million suspicious email reports from members of the public.

This has eliminated nearly 26,000 scams that were not previously identified by the download service.

Sir Jeremy Fleming, Director of GCHQ, told the CyberUK conference that the current serious global economic situation means that “the need to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online is increasingly relevant”.

Fleming said the UK should continue to focus on cybercriminals and other threats, which are constantly changing their strategies to profit from illegal activities.

He added that the National Cyber ​​Force (NCF), a co-operation between the Ministry of Defense and the GCHQ, is violating cybercrime on a “huge scale”.

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