Action Fraud launches 24/7 helpline to combat cyber attacks
Action Fraud launches 24/7 helpline to combat cyber attacks

Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, has launched a 24/7 live cyber-attack helpline. During its pilot since October 2016, Action Fraud's 24/7 cyber-helpline received 377 reports which were then disseminated to the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) or local forces.

Between 2016 and 2017 some 46 percent of all businesses experienced an attack or breach of their system. The effects of these attacks included loss of customer details, websites that were temporarily inaccessible as well as the subsequent loss of earnings, customer trust and damage to wider reputation. This development by the Action Fraud service is aimed at reducing this impact.

In the event of a live cyber-attack, Action Fraud's helpline gives access to specialist advisors who can offer advice and support to businesses, charities or other organisations in reporting the attack. These reports are immediately sent to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). Businesses experiencing a live cyber-attack should call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and follow the instructions. Live cyber-reports are sent to relevant law enforcement agencies to get the best response. Businesses will speak to specially trained advisors who can offer advice and support.

A live attack is one that is ongoing, that is still affecting a business's systems and ability to function. There may still be an opportunity for law enforcement to stop the attack and/or secure evidence that will assist an investigation, so business owners are advised to call Action Fraud as soon as possible.

Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith said in a press statement: “Reporting to Action Fraud's 24 hour helpline will not only offer support and advice. It will also enable the NFIB to assess whether reports link with those made by other businesses that have suffered a cyber-attack to determine whether known criminals are involved. These links can help to solve a cyber-attack more quickly using the expertise gained from other attacks.

“The development of this 24 hour service is aimed at reducing the damage that cyber-attacks can have on businesses, organisations and charities to give them the best chance of returning to business as usual as quickly as possible.”