14 million clicks to suspicious websites avoided in Belgium thanks to unique Anti-Phishing Shield of the Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium
By involving the general public, as many as 14 million clicks to suspicious websites were avoided in 2022. This equates to about 25 alerts to internet users per minute. If you know that Belgium has a population of 12 million, you understand that these are huge numbers. This is the result of the Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium's Belgium Anti-Phishing Shield (BAPS), which alerts internet users to unsafe websites. This system is unique in Europe.
The CCB has been counting on the general public's cooperation for years to report suspicious messages. Every day, we receive thousands of suspicious emails. In 2022, 6 million messages were forwarded to email@example.com. From these messages, we were able to detect no less than 665,000 suspicious URLs. The success of the email address firstname.lastname@example.org is still growing: in 2023, we are receiving an average of up to 30,000 suspicious messages a day.
We forward the suspicious URLs from these emails to Google SafeBrowsing and Microsoft SmartScreen. Browsers use this information to alert visitors to malicious websites. As we have no control over how quickly Google and Microsoft then proceed to block links, the CCB, together with the internet service providers Belnet, Proximus, Telenet and Orange, has successfully developed its own system and procedure to alert internet users in real time, called the Belgium Anti-Phishing Shield (BAPS).
BAPS is unique in Europe. The CCB has already had several opportunities to share this project with partner organizations all over Europe. This practice may therefore be rolled out in other countries in the near future.