GCHQ issues official warning about cyber threats on Black Friday

GCHQ have released their top tips for staying safe online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Photo: Shutterstock)
GCHQ have released their top tips for staying safe online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Photo: Shutterstock)

The UK’s national intelligence and security organisation, GCHQ, has issued a warning to shoppers about the threat of cyber crime on Black Friday.

GCHQ’s cyber wing, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), also revealed their top tips for staying safe online while shopping today and on Cyber Monday in a bid to prevent cyber crime.

“We know that cyber security can seem like a daunting subject, but sharing knowledge today will protect your loved ones tomorrow,” said Dr Ian Levy, the NCSC’s Technical Director.

“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.”

Top tips from the experts

According to the NCSC, estimates suggest that across so-called ‘Cyber Weekend 2018’ Brits could spend more than £10,000 per second online, totalling £3.5 billion.

Microsoft’s Chief Security Advisor, Siân John MBE added, “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.”

If you are looking to bag a bargain this Black Friday follow the NCSC’s top tips for staying safe online:

- Install the latest software and app updates

- Use strong passwords - especially for email accounts

- Use a password manager so you can have multiple passwords saved on your computer

- Use an extra layer of protection online such as two-factor authentication (2FA)

- Type the website address into your search bar instead of clicking on potentially fake links

- Don’t give away too much personal information when purchasing online. Retailers don’t need to know your mother’s maiden name.

- Report any suspicious emails or websites to Action Fraud. If you’ve made a purchase and it doesn’t feel right keep an eye on your bank statement and talk directly to your bank, too.