NCSC launches Cyber Aware campaign

The National Cyber Centre (NCSC) has launched a Cyber Aware campaign aimed at helping people shop securely online this Christmas.

The government campaign, led by the cyber security arm of GCHQ, is aiming to raise awareness of the risks after research found that victims of online shopping fraud in England and Wales lost an average of £775 during last year’s festive period.

The statistics from by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau have shown that over last year’s Christmas shopping period (1st November 2019 and 31st January 2020) there were 17,405 reports of online shopping fraud, resulting in reported loss of £13.5 million

The campaign for increased online protection has been launched with the support of organisations including Microsoft, Vodafone, BT, ASOS, Barclays and Citizens Advice.

With more people expected to shop online this year due to coronavirus restrictions, a new NCSC website and television advertising campaign have been launched to advise on the six key behaviours to protect account and devices from the majority of online crime.

These are:

Use a strong and separate password for your email

Create strong passwords using 3 random words

Save your passwords in your browser

Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA)

Update your devices and apps

Back up your data

Lindy Cameron, chief executive of the NCSC said: “Technology will play an essential role over the festive period, with more people shopping online than ever before.

“Scammers stole millions from internet shoppers last Christmas – but by following our advice, you can protect yourself from the majority of their crimes.

“We hope the Cyber Aware campaign helps people to shop confidently online and enjoy their Christmas.”

The Cyber Aware campaign is delivered by the NCSC working alongside the Home Office, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and aims to help individuals and organisations to protect themselves online.

Penny Mordaunt, the paymaster general, said: “This year we have spent more time online than ever before. Whether it be working or shopping online, criminals and others often see the internet as another means to cause harm.

“As we approach the Christmas season, we should all be on our guard and take the practical Cyber Aware actions to keep us safe as we work, shop and socialise online.”

The Office of National Statistics’ Retail Sales Index has shown a significant growth in online shopping this year and Ofcom’s annual Online Nation survey showed that UK adults are spending more time online than ever before.

The new adverts, which will run until Christmas Eve, mark the first time the NCSC has launched a TV, radio and online advertising drive, and builds on the Cyber Aware campaign launched at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in spring.

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