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Top tips to shop safe online on Black Friday published as the NCSC encourages public to have a ‘cyber chat’

Created:  23 Nov 2018
Updated:  23 Nov 2018
The NCSC is encouraging the public to have a 'cyber chat' to shop safely online during Black Friday.
  • GCHQ’s cyber wing calls on the UK to have a ‘national cyber chat’ on Black Friday
  • With shoppers increasingly swapping the high street for the Internet superhighway, the NCSC publishes seven tips to stay safe before, during and after making an online purchase
  • Public encouraged to find out how to protect themselves online through mini-podcasts featuring the NCSC’s Technical Director and experts from Microsoft and the British Retail Consortium, kicking off the UK’s biggest cyber chat.

Shoppers are being helped to learn and share simple cyber security steps to reduce damage done by Black Friday scams.

Online shopping for bargain deals has increased on Black Friday and people looking to swap the high street for the Internet superhighway could be targeted by bad actors.

As the lead technical authority in the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published seven tips everybody should know before, during and after making an online purchase – and are challenging people to learn the tips and pass them on with a ‘cyber chat’.

Black Friday is a key date in the retail calendar. Last year, sales in the Black Friday week were 40% higher than in any of the other 3 weeks of November, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Estimates have suggested that across ‘Cyber Weekend 2018’ tech-savvy Brits could spend more than £10,000 per second online, totalling £3.5 billion.

Dr. Ian Levy, the NCSC’s Technical Director, said:

“We know that cyber security can seem like a daunting subject, but sharing knowledge today will protect your loved ones tomorrow.

“Staying safe online doesn’t require deep technical knowledge, and we want the whole country to know that the NCSC speaks the same language as them.

“It’s vital that knowledge is shared, and that’s why we’re encouraging everybody to have a cyber chat. With so many of the UK shopping online, we want to see these tips shared from classrooms and scout groups to family dinner tables and old people’s homes.”

On Black Friday, the NCSC will be kicking off the UK’s biggest cyber chat on Twitter. Following a call for public questions, the NCSC will publish mini-podcasts, giving the public a seat at the table as the NCSC’s Technical Director Dr Ian Levy, Microsoft’s Siân John MBE and the British Retail Consortium’s James Martin answer the UK’s biggest cyber security queries.

The risks don't stop once the Black Friday frenzy has cleared. The run-up to Christmas and January sales also offer prime pickings for malicious actors owing to the increase in online transactions.

James Martin, Crime and Security Advisor, British Retail Consortium, said: 

“Cyber security is at the heart of our work. This is an area where the sometimes invisible, always invaluable, input of the NCSC is critical in helping make the UK the safest place to do business online. We look forward to continuing our ground-breaking work into the future.

“With more and more shoppers looking to get the best deals online, retailers continue to invest significantly in developing the right tools and expertise to protect against cyber-threats.

“We encourage consumers to be careful and buy through trusted websites, such as those of British Retail Consortium members, to ensure that their Black Friday deal doesn’t turn into a post-Christmas headache.”

Microsoft’s Chief Security Advisor Siân John MBE said:

“‘Whilst searching for those Black Friday and Cyber weekend bargains it’s important that we all take a few simple precautions so that we don’t end up being a gift for cyber criminals.”

The UK Government is fully committed to defending against cyber threats and address the cyber skills gap to develop and grow talent. A five year National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) was announced in November 2016, supported by £1.9billion of transformational investment.

The NCSC provides a single, central body for cyber security at a national level. Since it became fully operational in 2016, the NCSC has helped to support with 1,167 cyber incidents – including 557 in the last 12 months.

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