Knight’s Days – Reporting Back from Westminster with Sir Greg Knight: More safeguards are planned to tackle cyber crime

During the past year we have seen online shopping largely taking the place of walking down supermarket aisles and zoom calls replacing get-togethers and face-to-face meetings.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 1:17 pm
There has been an alarming rise of online scams during lockdown.

For many, more activity has been moved online across all age groups.

There are now signs that the necessity for this is coming to an end, as the Government’s vaccine programme continues apace.

Many people have now started to return to their pre-pandemic activities.

Sir Greg Knight MP.

However, whilst the restrictions caused by Covid-19 are decreasing, what is clear is that the pandemic is likely to leave some lasting changes to our conduct, by increasing our reliance on online activity and hi-tech ‘virtual’ communications.

However, it is not just the law-abiding who have changed their behaviour during the pandemic.

During lockdown we have seen an alarming rise in the number of online scams taking place.

Some estimates say that the increase in fraudulent activity taking place over the internet has increased by 337%.

In addition to the sheer number of scams, another problem is that they are becoming extremely sophisticated, making it harder to distinguish between the genuine and the fraudulent, in many cases.

New research indicates that cyber attacks targeting home devices cost our economy £1billion annually.

The average UK household is estimated to have over nine smart devices and since the Covid-19 pandemic, six in ten customers in the UK report an increase in their household use of smart devices.

So, at Westminster, we are considering what more needs to be done to ensure consumer safety.

Currently, search engines and other media platforms cannot be held accountable for hosting scam adverts and this is something that many MPs feel should change.

Some of these issues will be tackled in new legislation which will provide stronger legal protections for victims.

Further safeguards are planned in the somewhat ungainly named ‘Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill’ which seeks to protect consumers from cyber attacks by preventing the sale of insecure devices which are easy to hack.

It will ensure consumers are made aware at the point of sale how long devices such as smart televisions, phones and speakers will receive security updates.

The Government has pledged that it is committed to tackling fraudulent activity online – and quite right too.

Ministers have worked with the National Cyber Security Centre to establish a Suspicious Email Reporting Service, which allows the public to report potential rip-offs and cons and this has to date led to the removal of 22,192 scams.

If you think scammers have contacted you, you can always report any suspicious emails to this address: [email protected]

Meanwhile, additional measures to put internet crooks out of business are on their way!