Security resources aimed at small businesses and consumers

UK government launches Cyber Streetwise campaign in bid to boost online security

The government has launched ‘Cyber Streetwise’ – a campaign designed to boost online security awareness among small businesses and consumers.

The £4 million campaign is funded by the National Cyber Security Programme and helmed by the Home Office, and offers advice to businesses and consumers about how to reduce the risk of digital crime.

Five essential tips are offered by the initative’s website, which features a number of interactive displays and videos framed as shops along the fictional ‘Cyber Street’.

The tips are:

  • Install updates and antivirus software – “At a minimum, install anti-virus and update your operating system and web browser on your computers and mobile devices.”
  • Use strong passwords – “Passwords should be nonsensical and contain a mix of numbers, symbols, lower and uppercase letters.”
  • Only download from trusted sites or organisations – “Check that emails asking you to download something are genuine and only download software or applications from official websites or app stores.”
  • Beware of phishing emails – “Fraudsters pose as your bank or other trusted organisations to obtain your personal details. Make sure you know how to spot suspicious signs in an email or website.”
  • Review and protect your business’ information – “Losing customer information can have legal and reputational consequences. Do you have policies and standards in place to ensure it is protected?”

Among the backers of the awareness push are security firms Sophos and Symantec, several banking organisations and the charity Crimestoppers.

James Lyne, global head of security research at Sophos, explained that Cyber Streetwise was designed to be accessible than past campaigns such as GetSafeOnline.

"GetSafeOnline was one of the governments first awareness and advice tools," he said.

"Whilst they both focus on the same task of building awareness of security issues, Cyber Street is based off an analysis of the behaviours of different members of society online."

"The advice is supposed to be targeted and tailored at these groups to be more accessible and extends beyond a website in to a broader campaign with posters on the underground etc. In short, they are complimentary but Cyber Streetwise should be more accessible to the broader community and a reminder of security as you stroll to work."

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