Praise the lard! Police hook up with Microsoft to school us on National Phish and Chip Day

Scam warning slipped into Blighty's favourite greasefest

Today is National Fish and Chip* Day, and tech giant Microsoft has wasted no time wading in with the police to school the UK about phishing scams.

In what must be one of the industry's most tenuous links, the City of London Police has urged internet pond life to "mullet over" before falling victim to a phishing email on National Fish and Chip Day. Cod-dit?

Even the pun lovers here at Vulture Central thought that was below sea level.

Who are we kidding? We just wish we'd come up with it first instead of plunging the depths for ever more convoluted ways of torturing the word "Huawei".

Fish/phish punning aside, the message is important. The UK's Action Fraud said over a quarter of a million folk had dropped it a line between April 2018 and March 2019, mostly regarding emails purporting to be from a well-known brand. Other users said they'd netted phisher folk on phone calls or text messages.

Pointing to figures showing that not-so-koi Brits handed over more than £19m to fraudsters over the last year, Microsoft joined City of London Police to tell users to bass-ically contact a brand directly rather than being reeled in by a message that is merely housed in a legitimate-looking shell.

The kindly software giant also modestly nodded at the $1bn bait it shells out every year for research into cybersecurity. Herring about that, its customers might pond-er the amount of time their PCs spend downloading patches for the company's software.

As well as research, the Windows giant discreetly waved a hand in the direction of its soon-to-be-defunct Edge browser, which topped the security charts back in 2017 for warding off phishing websites. Carp-e diem, right?

At the time, Edge blocked more than 90 per cent of fishy links, with Chrome swimming some way behind. That incarnation of Edge is, of course, due to be replaced by something shinier based on Chromium in the very near future.

For its part, Google would remind you about the Safe Browsing idea it's floating around, aimed at spotting slippery websites.

Sadly, a look at Google's statistics shows that its service alone has spotted thousands of new unsafe sites per week over the last year. By March, the count for phishing sites was heading toward the 1.5 million tide-mark. On the bright side, better security has seen the number of out-and-out malware sites sink.

Still, getting the message out to that special salmon in internet land to be wary of scams by dipping into the Fish and Chip Day lard bucket is surely not just floundering their resources for the halibut like some sort of cybersecurity minnow. The Reg would also suggest that, come July, readers should be on the lookout for phishing scams themed around hardcore prawn. ®

* For those confused, "chip" in the UK refers to those delicious bags of starchy grease available from fried food emporiums up and down Blighty. Not to be mixed up with the American interpretation, known as "crisps" on this side of the pond.

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