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Online scams soar as fraudsters and foreign agents exploit Covid and Brexit

A ‘massive rise’ in fake celebrity endorsement scams has been detected amid an online crime, reports Kim Sengupta

Monday 10 May 2021 15:50 BST
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More cyber attacks were taken down by authorities last year than in the previous three combined
More cyber attacks were taken down by authorities last year than in the previous three combined (Getty Images)

Online scams rose 15-fold last year as criminals exploited crises from Covid to the chaotic aftermath of Brexit, a cyber security watchdog has reported.

More such attacks were taken down by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the last 12 months than the previous three years combined. Hostile states as well organised crime gangs targeted government departments, businesses and the public in sustained hacking offensives, celebrity investment cons, and sextortion.

Criminals as well as foreign intelligence agencies also took advantage of the pandemic to target medical facilities. The NCSC’s Active Cyber Defence Programme dealt with 122 phishing campaigns involving the NHS last year, compared to 36 in 2019.

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