Nominet Announces Expansion of Initiative to Educate Online Users on Cybercrime

Nominet, the organization responsible for managing the .uk domain registry, has announced that three new agencies have joined its pilot initiative to direct users to law enforcement landing pages for domains suspended due to criminal activity.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) will now join the effort to educate online users on protecting themselves from online scams and cybercrime. First introduced by Nominet in partnership with City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit in November 2020, the pilot aims to ultimately improve transparency and public confidence in the safety of the internet.

The collaboration with the MHRA will enable web users to be directed information about how to purchase medicines online, with sales of fake treatments online becoming prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. This advice will highlight the health and financial dangers posed by the sales of counterfeit medicines online as well as showcase safe purchasing options.

Working with the FCA, users will also be redirected to pages that outline how to protect themselves from financial scams. The FCA estimates this move could potentially save the UK public millions of pounds.

In addition, the NCA will have the functionality to redirect web users to the UK’s national reporting center for fraud and internet crime to help bring more cyber-criminals to justice.

When the pilot initiative ends, Nominet will assess its impact and report on the next steps.

Eleanor Bradley, MD of registry and public benefit at Nominet, explained: “Our landing page initiative is just one example of how we go above and beyond to make .uk the safest place in the world to be online.

“In addition to clarifying why the domain has been suspended, these bespoke pages will direct the public to official government resources designed to help them buy medicines safely, avoid financial scams and report fraud.

“These pages are designed to give vital information and support to the UK public at a time when they need it most while still disrupting criminal activity.”

Improving awareness of the dangers posed by cyber-criminals has become increasingly important during the pandemic, which has seen a substantial rise in internet use as a result of ongoing social distancing restrictions. Earlier this month, banking giant Barclays revealed it saw a record number of scams reported in the UK last year.

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