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Get ‘Cyber Streetwise’, says Government

January 13 2014

Today sees the launch of a new Government campaign to help people embrace the importance of protecting themselves while shopping or banking online, in order to avoid falling victim to cybercrime.

To visit Cyber Street for yourself, click here

The ‘Cyber Streetwise’ campaign aims to change the way the UK public and small businesses view online safety - and provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to take control of it.

It includes a new easy-to-use website - www.cyberstreetwise.com - and online videos, both featuring tips and advice. The virtual typical street draws the similarity between safety precautions taken in the real world and those necessary online. For example, people do not walk around with their bag open or wallet on show, which they are effectively doing when not protecting their personal and financial details online. 

According to research, more than 11million internet-enabled devices were received as gifts during the Christmas period (source: Conlumino Christmas tracker), heightening the need for increased awareness of online issues and how to identify and avoid them. The study indicates that people's greatest concerns when it comes to online safety are losing money (52%) and identity theft (48%). 16% of people claim to have lost at least £500 as a result of having their card details stolen and used over the internet – a total loss of more than £4billion. In addition, 32% of those who admit to not installing security software on internet devices blame a lack of understanding, while 18% say they did not realise the risk.

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. 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."

The launch is part of the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme and comes at a time when an increasing number of people use the internet on laptops, tablets and smartphones. The Government’s most recent National Cyber Security Consumer Tracker suggests that more than half the population are not taking simple actions to protect themselves online.

Whilst 94% of people believe it is their personal responsibility to ensure a safe internet experience, the research highlights:

- Only 44% always install internet security software on new equipment

- Only 37% download updates and patches for personal computers when prompted – falling even further to 21% for smartphones and mobile devices

- Only 30% habitually use complex passwords to protect online accounts

- 57% do not always check that websites are secure before making a purchase

The campaign focusses on changing everyday online behaviours in areas such as passwords, internet security software, privacy settings, secure websites and software updates.