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UK Government campaign urges citizens to be Cyber Streetwise

A new campaign designed to change the way in which people protect themselves while shopping, banking or socialising online in order to avoid falling victim to cyber criminals has been launched today by the UK Government.

The Cyber Streetwise campaign aims to change the way people view online safety and provide members of the public and businesses alike with the necessary skills and knowledge required for them to take control of their own cyber security.

Building on the National Cyber Security Programme1, the campaign includes a new easy-to-use website and online videos.

With more than 11 million Internet-enabled devices received as gifts during the Christmas period2, Cyber Streetwise will help in the fight against online criminals. People are encouraged to protect themselves and their families online by visiting the website for tips and advice.

The new website, http://www.cyberstreetwise.com, offers a range of interactive resources, tailoring an individual’s visit to provide clear advice on the essentials for enjoying a safe experience online.

Security minister James Brokenshire

Security minister James Brokenshire

Security minister James Brokenshire said: “The Internet has radically changed the way we work and socialise. It has created a wealth of opportunities, but with these opportunities there are also threats. As a Government we are taking the fight to cyber criminals wherever they are in the world.”

Brokenshire continued: “‘However, by taking a few simple steps while online the public can keep cyber criminals out and their information safe. Cyber Streetwise is an innovative new campaign that will provide everyone with the knowledge and confidence to make simple and effective changes to stay safe online.”

National Cyber Security Programme

The launch of the campaign is part of the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Programme1 and comes at a time when an increasing number of people use the web on their laptops, tablets and smart phones.

Findings from the Government’s most recent National Cyber Security Consumer Tracker3 suggest that more than half the population are not taking simple actions to protect themselves online.

While 94% of people believe it’s their personal responsibility to ensure a safe Internet experience, the research highlights the facts that:

• only 44% always install Internet security software on new equipment
• only 37% download updates and patches for personal computers when prompted… a figure which falls even further to a fifth (21%) for smart phones and mobile devices
• less than a third (30%) habitually use complex passwords to protect online accounts
• 57% do not always check websites are secure before making a purchase

The Cyber Streetwise campaign underlines that safety precautions taken in the real world have similar relevance in the virtual world. Research shows that shoppers don’t adopt the same behaviours when shopping online as contrasted with shopping on the High Street. A person wouldn’t walk around with their bag open or wallet on show yet, when shopping online and due to the speed of technology, people can be open to unnecessary risk if they’re not careful when using their credit card.

Five key actions to prevent cyber crime

There are five actions people can take in order to protect themselves and others from cyber crime. The key behaviours the campaign is focusing on changing are:

1. Using strong, memorable passwords
2. Installing anti-virus software on new devices
3. Checking privacy settings on social media
4. Shopping safely online, always ensuring to check online retail sites are secure
5. Downloading software and application patches when prompted

The research shows our biggest concerns when it comes to online safety are identity theft (48%) and losing money (52%). 16% of those surveyed claim to have lost at least £500 as a result of having their card details stolen and used over the Internet (representing a total loss of more than £4 billion).

Almost a third (32%) of those who admit to not installing security software on Internet-enabled devices blame a lack of understanding, while around a fifth (18%) say they did not realise the risk.

With initial funding allocated from the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme, the Cyber Streetwise campaign has been joined by a number of private sector partners who are providing support and investment. Among those involved are Sophos, Facebook, the RBS Group and Financial Fraud Action UK.

References

1. For further information on the National Cyber Security Programme, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/keeping-the-uk-safe-in-cyberspace

2. Figure provided by retail experts Conlumino and based on items bought in the five weeks up to and including Christmas Week 2013. Figure includes tablets, smart phones, connected e-readers, laptops, desktops and connected games consoles. Data derived from Christmas tracker which surveyed 22,762 consumers over the run-up to Christmas 2013

3. National Cyber Security Consumer Tracker – Wave 3, October 2013

Figure based on 16% of the adult UK population (8,028,924) Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2012 Release, Office for National Statistics, 8 August 2013

4. Cyber Streetwise is a cross-Government awareness and behaviour change campaign delivered by the Home Office in conjunction with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills alongside the National Crime Agency and Action Fraud and supported by the National Cyber Security Programme (Cabinet Office)

5. The campaign has wide support across industry with over 20 organisations providing access to communications channels to reach their customers or providing monetary support. Organisations involved include: Sophos, Facebook, Financial Fraud Action UK, RBS, Trend Micro and Vodafone

6. The Cyber Streetwise campaign launched on Monday 13 January 2014 with outdoor, radio and digital advertising. The advertising campaign has been designed by M&C Saatchi. To view and download assets please visit: http://www.consolpr.com/outbound/JAN/Cyberstreetwisecollateral.zip

7. To view the online videos visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/becyberstreetwise/videos

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