The following has been circulated on behalf of the National Cyber Security Centre via the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Team.
NCSC deals with 1,100 cyber attacks in first two years
On its second anniversary, the NCSC has revealed it has defended the UK from an average of more than 10 attacks per week
- National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) handled more than 10 attacks per week in first two years
- NCSC believes hostile nation states behind majority of cyber incidents
- Active Cyber Defence reduces UK’s share of visible global phishing attacks by more than half
- NCSC’s flagship conference CYBERUK to be held in Glasgow in 2019
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has defended the UK from an average of more than 10 attacks per week, it has been revealed on their second anniversary.
The NCSC, a part of GCHQ, has now published its second annual review which highlights the sustained threat from hostile state actors and cyber criminals.
Since it became fully operational in 2016, the NCSC’s cyber security front line has helped to support with 1,167 cyber incidents – including 557 in the last 12 months. The report reveals the majority of attacks against the UK are carried out by hostile nation states.
The Annual Review gives unprecedented detail about the tactics used by the NCSC’s Incident Management team, who work behind the scenes to co-ordinate defences to support UK victims when attacks do get through.
For the first time, the NCSC is giving a glimpse into the work against the ongoing cyber threat in a podcast, “Behind the scenes of an incident”, which features interviews with a range of staff who defend the UK from cyber attacks.
The NCSC takes a proactive approach to securing the UK’s online defences. The pioneering Active Cyber Defence (ACD) initiative aims to protect the UK from high-volume commodity attacks that affect people’s everyday lives.
Since its launch, Active Cyber Defence (ACD) has reduced the UK’s share of visible global phishing attacks by more than half; from 5.3% to 2.4%. Between September 2017 and August 2018, the service has removed 138,398 phishing sites hosted in the UK.
Links to the key products on NCSC website are below:
Full report: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/annual-review-2018
Press notice: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/ncsc-deals-1100-cyber-attacks-first-two-years
Micro-site with digital version of report: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/annual-review-2018
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TV LICENSING REFUND SCAM
Police have noted an increase in fake TV licensing refund scams. The email usually states that the refund cannot be processed due to “invalid account details”. Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
- Check the email contains your name – TV licensing will always include your name in any emails they send you.
- Check the email subject line - anything along the lines of "Action required", "Security Alert", "System Upgrade", "There is a secure message waiting for you", and so on, should be treated as suspect.
- Check the email address - does the email address look like one that TV Licensing use? For example email@example.com. Look closely as often the address may be similar.
- Check for a change in style - often the scammers will take the real emails and amend them. Look out for changes in the wording used, especially if it seems too casual or familiar.
- Check for spelling and grammar - are there any spelling mistakes, missing full stops or other grammatical errors?
- Check the links go to the TV Licensing website - hover over the links in the email to see their destination and check the web address carefully. If you are not sure, go directly to the TV Licensing website.
- Never provide details by email - TV licensing will never ask you to reply to an email and provide bank details or personal information.
DOORSTEP CRIME #whosatthedoor
Rogue traders usually cold-call, claiming to be workers offering to sell services, make repairs or carry out work on your house, garden or driveway. In reality they charge inflated prices for shoddy or unnecessary work.
We DO NOT recommend dealing with cold-callers for property maintenance and home repairs.
POLICE WARNING – PHONE SCAM - DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY
Officers in Dumfries and Galloway are warning members of the public to be on their guard against a telephone scam where victims are being contacted by fraudsters claiming to be from either their bank or from Police Scotland.
So far 2 people in the Newton Stewart and Stewartry area have contacted police after being duped by fraudsters into moving money from their account to another one provided to them by the scammer. On each occasion the caller claims there has been fraudulent activity on their account but that it may be a bank employee that is involved so not to go to the bank or the police about it.
The first call involved a 76 year old man who has now lost a four figure sum of money to the criminals.
The other was picked up by the bank before the victim lost out.
Enquiries are ongoing in relation to these incidents but officers are keen to make members of the public aware of these circumstances.
Constable Tom Dingwall, Castle Douglas Police Station, said:
“We are highlighting this scam so that people are aware of it. If you think you are receiving any suspicious calls, just hang up on the person. Unfortunately, those committing this type of fraud are quite innovative and use words and phrases which are likely to hook their victim. Our advice is, do not give out any personal information or bank details over the phone and always, stop, think and check with a friend, relative or neighbour before taking any action.”
Any victims of such crimes, or anyone with any concerns can contact their local police station via 101.
For further advice for keeping safe, please visit the personal safety page of our website, http://ow.ly/IwgD30m7aOe
Security Warning – SCAMS
Following a recent increase in specific reports from NWS members across Scotland of apparent SCAM attempts from cold callers purporting to be from BT / BT Openreach and attempting to gain personal details and remote access to home computers we are highlighting the following:
These callers suggest there is an issue with the line / internet connectivity or that the service may be withdrawn due to non-payment. The fraudsters then attempt to gain remote access to the computer by asking you to perform certain commands on the computer or they may ask you to make payments over the phone by providing personal information.
These fraudsters may also “spoof” the number they are calling from so that if you dial 1471 you might see a fictitious number that masks the real destination number. They may also offer a call back number to confirm legitimacy of their call and then answer as if you calling BT.
- Be suspicious of cold callers relating to security or computer problems even if the caller claims to be from a recognised company
- If unsure, end the conversation. Call the alleged company later using number from official website or literature.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone to someone you don’t know
- Don’t follow any instruction to type anything into a computer, install software, visit a website or click on a link
- Seek advice from friends or family
- Don’t agree to sign up for anything, give someone your home address, bank or credit card details and under no circumstances let the caller take control of your computer. (This gives them full control of your computer and ultimately access to your personal information)
- If you use a shared computer – be security conscious. Remember, each time you exit your account you should sign out completely by clicking the log off (sign out) link. This means any user following you won’t be able to access your account
- BT offer a network service that deals with nuisance and unwanted calls and provides customers the control to block such calls called BT Call Protect
- There are other call blocker products available such as True Call etc.
- If you have been a victim or suspect you have been a victim of a SCAM contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040 or call on Police Scotland on 101
Cyber Security Advice
The following advice was recently published in the finance section of a National newspaper. It lists 6 important points worthy of highlighting:
- Be vigilant. It is a chore but checking your bank statements regularly is essential. Call the bank if unsure about a transaction. Also use a credit checking agency for a one-off free check to ensure no one is using your personal information to set up loans. Agencies include Experian, Equifax and Callcredit.
- Stay safe with anti-virus software. Although it can be free, consider paying approximately £40 a year for security covering a variety of gadgets. Do not be tempted by “pop-up windows” offering security – these can be a scam. Accept security software updates as they provide ongoing protection.
- Use a strong password for any online accounts. Picture imaging can help for codes but also consider password manager software.
- Do not share personal information. Social media may be fun but it is a great place for fraudsters to obtain your private details – photos, birthdays,holidays – that when pieced together can compromise your financial security
- Be wary of public wi-fi. Fruadsters can hack into it – often offered in cafes or train – to see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone. Be wary of making payments or accessing bank details when unsure of a connection. Some fraudsters even mimic public wi-fi to get your details.
- Do not trust websites without first checking the suffix. Fraudsters can steal details and money through bogus websites. They may look official but the final letters often give a clue with regards to authentication. Some fraudulent sites have used ‘co.com’ suffix when the real one is ‘co.uk’. The prefix is worth checking out too. An ‘https’ prefix shows a website that is more secure than one that starts with just ‘http’. The code ‘https’ stands for ‘hypertext transfer protocol secure’
Following an increase in this specific Scam, Action Fraud have posted the following advice.
Pension scammers promise to convert pension funds into cash before retirement, or in some cases they may suggest people can take more than 25% of their pension pot as cash. Pension fraudsters promise to convert pension benefits into cash before age 55.
Criminals are believed to be fraudulently exploiting the pension liberation process in a number of ways. These include failing to advise members of the tax implications of receiving cash from their pension; failing to advise members of the full extent of fees to be paid in relation to any onward investment; falsely representing anticipated levels of returns when investments are either non – existent or incapable of providing such a return.
The scammers have a variety of tricks to catch you out. They may:
- claim that you can access your pension pot before age 55
- approach you out of the blue over the phone, via text message or in person door-to-door
- entice you with upfront cash
- offer a free ‘pension review’ or try to lure you in with so-called ‘one-off’ investment opportunities.
Check the facts before you make an irreversible decision. A lifetime’s savings can be lost in a moment.
The Pensions Regulator’s five steps to avoid becoming a victim of a pension scam:
- Cold called about your pension - just hang up!
- Check the credentials of the company and any advisers – who should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
- Ask for a statement showing how your pension will be paid at retirement, and question who will look after your money until then.
- Speak to an adviser that is not associated with the deal you’ve been offered, for unbiased advice.
- Never be rushed into agreeing to a pension transfer.
For more information about pension scams visit The Pensions Regulator website.
Before you sign anything call The Pensions Advisory Service on 0300 123 1047
The HM Revenue & Customs website highlights the tax consequences of pension liberation to individuals.
If you have been a victim of this type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling us on 0300 123 2040 or by using our online reporting tool.
Adult Support and Protection Campaign - “Seen Something? Say Something”
- Adult harm can take many forms from neglect, physical, psychological, sexual or financial exploitation.
- Adults particularly at risk of harm are those who may not be able to look after themselves through factors such as personal circumstances, physical or learning disability, age or illness and infirmity.
- Act on your suspicions or instincts if you think an adult is being harmed, neglected or exploited.
- It only takes an email or an anonymous phone call to your local social work department to report it, and they will investigate it sensitively
- For advice and support visit :
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified an increasing number of reports submitted to Action Fraud from the public concerning courier fraud.
Fraudsters are contacting victims by telephone and purporting to be a police officer or bank official. To substantiate this claim, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as their full name and address. They may also offer a telephone number for the victim to call to check that they are genuine; this number is not genuine and simply redirects to the fraudster who pretends to be a different person. After some trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest;
- Some money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible.
- Suspects have already been arrested but the “police” need money for evidence.
- A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is operating fraudulently and they require assistance to help secure evidence.
Victims are then asked to cooperate in an investigation by attending their bank and withdrawing money, withdrawing foreign currency from an exchange or purchasing an expensive item to hand over to a courier for examination who will also be a fraudster. Again, to reassure the victim, a safe word might be communicated to the victim so the courier appears genuine.
At the time of handover, unsuspecting victims are promised the money they’ve handed over or spent will be reimbursed but in reality there is no further contact and the money is never seen again.
Your bank or the police will never:
- Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password.
- Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping, or send someone to your home to collect cash, PIN, cards or cheque books if you are a victim of fraud.
Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic
Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud
Stay in control
If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information.
For more information about how to protect yourself online visit
www.cyberaware.gov.uk and www.takefive.stopfraud.org.uk
There has been a sharp rise in fraudsters sending out fake text messages (smishing) and phishing emails claiming to be from TSB. The increase in the number of reports corresponds with the timing of TSB’s computer system update, which resulted in 1.9 million users being locked out of their accounts. Opportunistic fraudsters are using TSB’s system issue to target people with this type of fraud.
Since the start of May there have been 321 phishing reports of TSB phishing made to Action Fraud. This is an increase of 970% on the previous month. In the same reporting period, there have been 51 reports of cybercrime to Action Fraud which mention TSB – an increase of 112% on the previous month.
Fraudsters are commonly using text messages as a way to defraud unsuspecting victims out of money. Known as smishing, this involves the victim receiving a text message purporting to be from TSB. The message requests that the recipient clicks onto a website link that leads to a phishing website designed to steal online banking details.
Although text messages are currently the most common delivery method, similar communications have been reported with fraudsters using email and telephone to defraud individuals.
In several cases, people have lost vast sums of money, with one victim losing £3,890 after initially receiving a text message claiming to be from TSB. Fraudsters used specialist software which changed the sender ID on the message so that it looked like it was from TSB. This added the spoofed text to an existing TSB message thread on the victim’s phone.
The victim clicked on the link within the text message and entered their personal information. Armed with this information, the fraudsters then called the victim back and persuaded them to hand over their banking authentication code from their mobile phone. The fraudsters then moved all of the victim’s savings to a current account and paid a suspicious company.
Don’t assume an email or text is authentic:
Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Phone numbers and email addresses can be spoofed, so always contact the company directly via a known email or phone number (such as the one on the back of your bank card).
Clicking on links/files
Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected text or email. Remember, a genuine bank will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your full PIN or password.
If you have received a suspicious TSB email, please do not respond to it, report it to us https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_phishing and also forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Every Report Matters. If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Visit Take Five and Cyber Aware for more information about how to protect yourself online.
Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)
False claims of Telephone Preference Service:
Fraudsters are cold-calling victims, falsely stating that they are calling from one of the well-known UK telecommunication service providers. They call victims claiming to provide a ‘Telephone Preference Service’ - an enhanced call-barring service, which includes barring international call centres.
The fraudsters ask victims to confirm/provide their bank account details, informing them that there is a one-off charge for the service. Victims instead see monthly debits deducted from their accounts, which they have not authorised. The fraudsters often target elderly victims.
In all instances, direct debits are set up without following proper procedure. The victim is not sent written confirmation of the direct debit instruction, which is supposed to be sent within three days.
On occasions when victims attempted to call back, the telephone number provided by the fraudster was either unable to be reached or the victim’s direct debit cancellation request was refused.
During 2017, there were 493 Action Fraud Reports relating to this fraud.
- There is only one Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The TPS is the only official UK 'do-not-call' register for opting out of live telesales calls. It is FREE to sign-up to the register. TPS never charge for registration. You can register for this service at http://www.tpsonline.org.uk.
- You will receive postal confirmation of genuine direct debits. If you notice unauthorised payments leaving your account, you should contact your bank promptly.
- Always be wary of providing personal information, or confirming that personal information the caller already claims to hold is correct. Always be certain that you know who you talking to. If in doubt hang up immediately.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
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Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)