We’re rounding up some of the biggest cyber security stories of the past few weeks. In December, the NHS topped NCSC’s list of government impersonation scams, the UK created world-first rules to increase consumer security, Britain remained as the strongest tech sector in Europe and applications opened for Northern Ireland’s first CYBERUK conference.
NCSC reveals most impersonated government phishing scams
The NHS leads a list of government bodies being used as the centre of phishing scams, according to new data from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The scams include emails and messages claiming to be from HMG brands including HMRC and TV Licensing.
The suspicious email reporting service (SERS) received upwards of 6.4 million reports during 2022, leading to 67,300 scam URLs being removed as a result. Since its launch in 2020, that takes the total number of SERS reports to 15.8 million, allowing for 168,500 takedowns.
Sarah Lyons, NCSC deputy director for economy and society resilience, commented: “We want to help people more easily spot the common tricks fraudsters use so that ultimately they can stay safer online.” The NCSC is now urging people to follow its Cyber Aware advice, set up two-factor authentication and randomise passwords to add extra layers of protection to their personal information.
UK reveals new rules for apps to boost security and privacy
The British government announced a world-first Code of Practice, aiming to provide better consumer protection from malicious apps. It acknowledged a severe lack of rules governing app security and the stores on which they are accessed, raising concerns for users downloading apps containing malware.
Responding to a call for views earlier in 2022, the government will now request that app developers and publishers agree to sign a new code of practice, which will support privacy and security requirements on all apps and app stores available in the UK. Cyber minister Julia Lopez added: “We are taking steps to get app stores and developers to keep customers even safer in the online world.”
The voluntary rules come as part of the £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy, which aims to strengthen British cyber resilience whilst promoting the digital economy.
Britain retains top spot as Europe’s strongest tech sector
The UK tech industry remains Europe’s leading digital ecosystem at the end of 2022, standing strong in its position as the main challenger to China and the United States, according to the latest research from Dealroom for the Digital Economy Council.
Rapidly growing UK tech companies have continued to raise close to record levels of £24 billion in 2022, taking the total across the last five years up to £97 billion. These figures highlight the UK as the European Silicon Valley, as sustained levels of growth and investment have birthed a global tech powerhouse.
Digital minister Paul Scully said: “UK tech has remained resilient in the face of global challenges and we have ended the year as one of the world’s leading destinations for digital business.”
First CYBERUK conference to take place in Northern Ireland
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is now accepting applications for delegates to participate in CYBERUK 2023, a conference focused on “securing an open and resilient digital future”. It’s become an integral part of the cyber security community, with the last summit in Wales bringing together over 2,200 attendees for interactive workshops, keynotes and exhibitions.
Lindy Cameron, NCSC chief executive, commented: “I am delighted our flagship CYBERUK conference is coming to Nothern Ireland for the first time, recognising its status as a global cyber hub.” The conference will also include a schools outreach programme, with local pupils taking part in activities set out to inspire and develop important cyber skills.