Web security providers have welcomed the government's Cyber Streetwise campaign, praising the attempt to raise public awareness about threats posed by cyber criminals and the dangers from oversharing private information.
Visitors to www.cyberstreetwise.com will find, among other things, a series of humorous animated shorts based around the slogan "you wouldn't do this in the real world, why do it online?" They feature doing stupid things like not locking doors, or revealing private information via loudspeaker.
The initiative, which aims to increase online safety for SMEs and home users, has been launched in partnership with network security firm Sophos.
"Sophos has partnered with government to support Cyber Streetwise because we believe it's imperative for both consumers and small businesses to take action to protect themselves online," said James Lyne, global head of security research at Sophos
"Consumers and SMEs alike are finding new ways to interact online, including via a greater range of devices, but with this enhanced technology comes risk.
Lyne added that around 80 per cent of websites responsible for distributing malware are those of small businesses which have been hacked.
"It's therefore vital that small businesses in particular get the basics of security right - from installing antivirus to regularly updating and patching software, using complex passwords and protecting data," he continued.
"Those who don't put basic security measures in place are leaving themselves exposed to attackers capable of silently installing malicious code on their systems without permission," Lyne said.
"We are proud to have been asked to support and to provide content for Cyber Streetwise," he added.
Endpoint, cloud and virtual security solutions provider Symantec also welcomed the launch of the campaign.
Simon Moor, Symantec VP for UK & Ireland, explained that making the public aware of online threats is crucial in the fight against cyber criminals.
"The internet is an integral part of our daily lives in the UK, and we believe that there is a need for further education among consumers and small businesses on the topics of cyber security and data protection. Public awareness campaigns such as this are vital in helping to bring today's digital threats to life," he said.
Moor continued, adding that even those with good awareness of cyber threats should take the time to regularly read up on new dangers to cyber security.
"Online threats are consistently evolving, however people can be lulled into a sense of false security by the sheer ubiquity of connected technology leaving themselves open to being tricked into downloading malware, or cyber criminals accessing their personal data," he said.
"Even those tech-savvy people can benefit from a regular reassessment of our usage of web-connected devices. This is why Symantec is supporting Cyber streetwise through the provision of information to the site as well as communications to our staff and customers," Moor added.
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