The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has updated its security guidance for online shoppers ahead of the annual 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday' retail events. The guidance follows similar recent advice for consumers from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The guidance from the NCSC forms part of a wider Action Fraud campaign - #FraudFreeXmas - launched following a surge in online fraud reports, offering tips on how best to avoid falling victim to fraud, and includes advice on what to do if things do go wrong. With shops still closed during lockdown, the NCSC is urging online shoppers to avoid handing cyber criminals early Christmas gifts.

Organisations throughout the country will no doubt be hoping their employees heed this advice, and carry their vigilance into the workplace to ensure suspicious emails are appropriately reported.

Online shoppers searching for Black Friday bargains are being encouraged to follow top tips to stay safe and prevent cyber criminals cashing in on the annual sales rush.

The tips from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – which is a part of GCHQ – are contained in refreshed guidance published today (Monday) ahead of the sales rush traditionally sparked by Black Friday, closely followed by Cyber Monday.

The festive period is a potentially lucrative time of year for cyber criminals, who anticipate that consumers may slightly lower their guards during the rush to bag the best deals.