National Cyber Security Centre issues warning for online shoppers this Christmas

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Shoppers are being warned of the risks of cyber fraud and asked to remain vigilant when purchasing online over the festive season.

After last year’s Christmas shopping period – where figures showed there was an average loss of £775 per incident from online shopping fraud – The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – part of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – has today revealed it is set to launch a major campaign called Cyber Aware.

The campaign will feature the organisation’s first ever TV and radio advertisements.

Due to the nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, online shopping has seen significant growth this year and is still predicted to reach new levels at Christmas even with High Street shops having reopened again in many areas.

And, of course, that with that comes the risk from criminals, so the NCSC is outlining six key things people can do to protect their accounts.

These are:

1. Use a strong and separate password for your email.

2. Create strong passwords using three random words.

3. Save your passwords in your browser.

4. Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA).

5. Update your devices and apps.

6. Back up your data.

National Cyber Security Centre

Statistics by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau revealed that over last year’s Christmas shopping period (from November 2019 to end of January 2020), there were 17,405 reports of online shopping fraud, reporting a loss of £13.5m, according to the NCSC.

The NCSC is working on the Cyber Aware campaign with the Home Office, the Cabinet Office, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

It aims to help individuals and organisations protect themselves online.

Speaking on the launch of the Cyber Aware campaign, 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.”

Penny Mordaunt – spokesperson for Paymaster General – added: 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 [and] 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.”

You can find more information about Cyber Aware via NCSC website here.

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