Working with the FBI in the US, the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK is lauding recent joint efforts that have resulted in a unique two-week opportunity when Internet crime lords could be regrouping. The NCA is promoting this lull, of sorts, in online criminal activity as the perfect time for the public to protect themselves against future attacks.

According to the NCA, actions in several countries, led by the FBI, have weakened the global network of infected computers. Suggesting that this might be the calm before the storm, the NCA is urging the public to take this opportunity to install and update security software. Stating that more than 15,500 computers in the UK are currently infected by GOZeuS and CryptoLocker, two pieces of malware known to steal files and banking and private information, this time is important to become more secure.

Andy Archibald, Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, says:

Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals. By making use of this two-week window, huge numbers of people in the UK can stop that from happening to them.

To help educate the public and give them actionable steps to secure their computing environment, NCA is offering the Get Safe Online web site (http://www.getsafeonline.org/nca) that provides advice, guidance, and tools. The web site focuses on the Windows operating system as the primary threat, whether it’s a server, workstation, or even running in a virtual machine on a Mac.

The site also reiterates that the NCA has taken temporary control of the communications used to connect with infected computers and expects only a very limited window of opportunity to ensure the public is protected. Links to free tools from the usual suspects like Symantec, F-Secure, Kapersky, Sophos, Heimdal Security, Microsoft, McAfee, and Trend Micro are available so that the public can act quickly to install security software from trusted sources.