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NCSC simplifies Outlook scam-reporting tool

Users are now able to report phishing emails with just one click

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has simplified its cyber scam-reporting with a new add-in for Outlook on Microsoft 365 which makes it even easier to flag phishing emails to its Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS).

Launched in April of last year, SERS allows users to report email scams by forwarding them to report@phishing.gov.uk. Within the last 16 months, it has received over 6.5 million reports from the public resulting in the removal of 97,000 online scams, the NCSC said.

However, the organisation has said that this isn’t enough, with NCSC technical director Dr Ian Levy saying that the new tool will make it easier for businesses to “further help combat cyber crime”.

Designed as a simple button, it allows staff to report a suspicious-looking email with just one click, saving the time that it takes to find the SERS email address and forward the message. The more automated approach aims to make reporting easier and faster, allowing users to protect the security of the business without compromising on time and productivity

“As more people report more dodgy stuff to us, the safer everyone gets,” said Levy. “The pandemic has shown the cyber criminals will stop at nothing to attack and defraud citizens and businesses. But our Suspicious Email Reporting Service has also shown that the British public can help us fight back against this scourge."

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SMBs have been especially vulnerable to hackers, with almost a third of cyber attacks now involving a small business. According to Federation of Small Businesses national chair Mike Cherry, innovations such as the simplified reporting tool “are crucial to calling time on business crime”. 

“Small achievable steps will go a long way to protect thousands of small firms from cyber attacks. Every year, there are almost four million cases of cyber attacks against small businesses in the UK, and more than 50 per cent of these come from phishing,” he said, adding that “these systems not only help prevent disruption to small firms today but will become increasingly important to help safeguard small businesses for the future”.

Organisations interested in equipping their staff with the Microsoft 365 tool can go to the Microsoft AppSource portal and search for the Report Phishing add-in, click the “Get it now” button, and follow the instructions to complete the installation. 

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