The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit has teamed with the IT industry to launch an awareness programme aimed at increasing understanding about PC security.
Called "Get Safe Online", it is a joint initiative between the Government, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, part of the National Crime Squad and private sector sponsors including BT, Dell, eBay, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Microsoft, MessageLabs, securetrading.com and Yell.com.
The report found that over three quarters of the UK's population (83 per cent) don't know enough about protecting themselves online, and that 42 per cent of the population just rely on friends and family for online safety advice rather than finding expert information for themselves. It estimates that online sales are worth £10 billion a year and 14 million people use online banking.
John Hutton, the Cabinet Minister responsible for e-Government, said: "The internet has become an essential tool for businesses and consumers, but we all know there are risks too. That's why we¹re running the Get Safe Online campaign to make the internet a safer place to make financial transactions and exchange personal information."
The campaign urges everyone to do a SAFE check on their PCs:
S = Spyware - run an anti-spyware program.
A = Anti-virus - get anti-virus protection.
F = Firewall - have a firewall and make sure it¹s switched on.
E = Ensure your operating system is updated.
"This is a step in the right direction to help educate the public over how to stay safe online. The problem at the moment is that internet security is a confusing landscape, with technical jargon going over the head of the typical consumer,¹ said Tom Newton, product manager for SmoothWall Limited.
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