The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued a report detailing the impact its first year of operations has had.

In the report, entitled ‘Active cyber defence – one year on’, NCSC technical director Ian Levy explains that the Web Check, Dmarc, Public Sector DNS (domain name system) and takedown services – which are free at the point of use – can improve defences against threats by blocking fake emails, removing phishing attacks and stopping public sector systems veering onto malicious servers.

Mr Levy wrote: “It’s certainly reasonable to say that we are stopping an average of 4.5 million spoofed emails a month sent in the name of (the total of those with disposition ‘quarantine’ and ‘reject’), and allowing analysis of another 40 million or so.”

Since these cyber security programmes have been introduced, Mr Levy explained that the UK’s share of visible global phishing attacks fell from 5.3 per cent in June 2016 to 3.1 per cent in November 2017. Meanwhile, 121,479 phishing sites hosted in the UK were shut down and a total of 18,067 spoofed UK government domains were removed across the globe.

In addition, availability times for sites spoofing government brands fell from 42 hours to ten hours. This resulted in a 515,658 drop of scam emails from scam accounts in a year. Mr Levy said this suggests that criminals are “moving away from using them as fewer and fewer of them are delivered to end users”.

He added that June 2017 saw the largest number of spoof emails prevented from getting through to end users, at 30.3 million. His organisation also carried out more than one million security scans and seven million security tests on public sector websites.

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