cuts scam emails by 300m through new cyber security initiative
HMRC has successfully reduced the
number of phishing emails its customers receive by 300 million this year, better
protecting taxpayers from fraud and identity theft.
This is a significant decrease in the ˝ a billion phishing emails sent to
customers alleging to be from an:- '@HMRC.gov.uk' email address in both 2014 and
2015, and shows the progress the department is making in tackling these types of
Discussing the achievement, HMRC's Head of Cyber Security, Ed Tucker, said:-
"Phishing emails are a major focus for our Cyber Security Team. They're more
than just unwanted messages; they are a means by which criminals look to exploit
members of the public and gain access to their personal and financial data. This
in turn can lead to fraud and identity theft.
By introducing a new level of security, we've been able to tackle these threats
head on and almost all attempts to scam taxpayers by pretending to be from an HMRC email address will now fall flat. The added security this brings will be
invaluable, especially at this time of year when many customers are busy using
their online Personal Tax Account to submit their Self Assessment returns."
The achievement has been made possible through HMRC's implementation of the
email authentication protocol Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and
Conformance (DMARC). The security process works by determining which email
servers are allowed to send emails on behalf of the organisation. If an email
passes the checks it is deemed legitimate and delivered. If it fails then it is
deemed fraudulent and is not delivered.
Ed Tucker, who recently won the Security Professional of the Year award at the
UK IT Industry Awards, added:- "While this does not mean a complete end to HMRC based phishing, it has taken hundreds of millions of scam messages out of
circulation and will make criminals' emails look far less legitimate, giving our
customers a much better chance of spotting them."
As one of the first departments to apply the DMARC control, HMRC is now at the
forefront of contributing to the delivery of the Active Cyber Defence Programme;
an essential part of the National Cyber Security Strategy.
'Moderate levels of exercise improve your
short term memory' new research shows
NEW research from Edge Hill University shows that
exercising at moderate intensity improves the accuracy of a person's short term
Tests carried out on healthy, active people aged 18 to 35 revealed that moderate to
intense running or cycling for 30 minutes improved the accuracy of short term
When asked to remember a list of associated items such as household building
terms including roof, door and wall, people who hadn't exercised before the
recall test were more likely to remember 'false' associated words in the
list, such as saying window when it wasn't there.
Those who had exercised however accurately remembered more words and didn't show
'false memory' in the test.
Another experiment also showed that exercising before learning the list of words
also benefited immediate recall.
David Marchant, Reader of Sport and Exercise Psychology, who conducted the
research said:- "We wanted to test how physical arousal through an acute
bout of aerobic exercise affects memory. Previous published research shows mixed
results and we were particularly keen to test the accuracy of short term memory.
In certain types of physical arousal such as emotional or stress, short term
memory is affected and mistakes are more common. After exercise (in this case we
tested cyclists and runners) we found this wasn't the case with more correct
The University's Research Investment Fund (RIF) supported the study which was
presented on Tuesday, 13 December 2016, at the annual conference of the British
Over the coming months the research will be developed to look at whether factors
such as a person's natural memory ability, fitness level or other physical
factors affect the accuracy of short term memory in this context.
Other research from Edge Hill's Department of Sport and Physical Activity will
also be presented at the conference, including how a footballer's belief they
can control the goalkeeper can actually improve their accuracy in penalty
Police Commissioner asks for
public's support to make region's roads safer
MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner is
asking local people and other agencies for their support in making the region's
Jane Kennedy has launched a regionwide consultation asking people for their
views on her existing policing priorities for Merseyside and is specifically
asking whether they back her proposal to make 'improving road safety'
new priority for the region.
Since 2010, Merseyside has witnessed a sharp increase in the number of people
killed or seriously injured on the roads. In 2015, more than 11 people died or
were seriously hurt every week on Merseyside's roads. The region also saw more
pedestrians killed or seriously hurt than anywhere else in the country.
The consultation is at the heart of the Commissioner's work to produce a new
Police and Crime Plan. Jane is required by law to produce a Plan, which shapes
and informs the way policing and community safety is delivered in the county.
The Plan sets out the clear priorities on which the Commissioner and her
partners will focus their work and the ways in which Merseyside Police will use
its resources to deliver excellent policing for the communities of Merseyside.
Jane's current plan was created in September 2015 and runs until March 2017,
when she will release a new report which will cover until March 2021. Her
existing priorities are to:-
► Prevent crime and anti social behaviour.
► Provide a visible and accessible neighbourhood policing style.
► Tackle serious and organised crime.
► Support victims, protect vulnerable people and maintain public safety.
Now the Commissioner is asking local people if these are still the right
priorities for the region or if there are any other emerging issues that they
feel should be addressed. She is holding a 6-week public consultation which will
run until Monday 16 January 2017, with the aim of seeking the views of local
leaders, partners and members of the public on her existing priorities and
asking whether they believe improving road safety, or any other issue, should be
added as a 5th priority.
Jane said:- "Merseyside's Police and Crime Plan is a really important
document, so it's vital I take everyone's views into consideration before
changing it. I want to make sure it reflects the views and concerns of people
across the county.
My existing priorities were based on the consultation I did before and after
being elected in 2012 and the ongoing consultation which I carried out
continuously during my first term of office. This feedback provided the
foundations for the Police and Crime Plan for Merseyside. Now I have the mandate
from the public to serve a second term, I believe it's the right time to take a
fresh look at the Plan and make sure these priorities still echo the
expectations and wishes of local people.
I have become increasingly concerned about road safety in Merseyside. More
pedestrians die or are seriously hurt on the roads in our region than any other
part of the country.
Last year 585 people either lost their lives or suffered serious injuries on our
region's roads; that equates to more than 11 people every single week. Any
death or serious injury on our roads is one too many and 11 a week is simply
unacceptable. Each and every one brings suffering and misery to those who are
involved, their families and friends. Lives are broken and futures destroyed,
yet many of these collisions are avoidable.
I believe it is time that, in conjunction with all my community safety partners,
we concentrate on tackling this issue to prevent other people needlessly losing
their lives on our roads.
What I want is to hear the views of local people; is improving the safety of
roads a priority for you too?"
Jane is inviting people to have their say on her #MyPriority consultation via a
short online survey or by attending 1 of the 6 community roadshows that will
be held across the region. Details of these will be released shortly.
Members of the public are also invited to have their say via Twitter using the
hashtag #MyPriority and the Commissioner's twitter handle @MerseysidePCC.
Jane added:- "I would urge everyone to join the conversation and help to
finalise the priorities I'm setting for policing and community safety in
A range of stakeholder engagement events will also be held to seek the views of
partners. The Police and Crime Plan is a living document which is continuously
reviewed to ensure it continues to accurately reflect local priorities. It can
be refreshed at any time.
People are asked to visit:-
to share their views by Monday January 16, 2017. Alternatively feedback can be
sent via email or sent to:- Office
of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, Rose Lane, Allerton, L18