Government-backed Net safety campaign kicks off

A major government-backed campaign to raise public awareness of online security issues launched in London today.

The campaign ‘Get Safe Online’ is a joint initiative between the Government, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit and private sector sponsors, including HSBC, eBay and Microsoft, and aims to provide users with up-to-date information about online safety.

People are being urged to visit the website www.getsafeonline.org after research found that more than three quarters of the UK’s population (83 per cent) are uninformed when it comes to protecting themselves online. Almost half of the population rely on friends and family for safety advice rather than referring to expert information.

The website is designed as a one-stop-shop where people can obtain reliable information and discover how to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.

‘The Internet has become an essential tool for businesses and consumers, and has brought enormous benefits to our everyday, but we all know there are risks too,’ said John Hutton, the cabinet minister responsible for e-Government, ‘That’s why we are running the Get Safe Online campaign to make the internet a safer place to make financial transactions and exchange personal information.’

TV presenter and journalist Richard Hammond has also been drafted in to help get the campaign up and running.

‘We wouldn’t leave our front door open or our cars unlocked, but we regularly use the net without taking basic precautions,’ said Hammond, ‘It’s not difficult to use the Internet safely; it comes down to some basic rules we should all remember.’

The Top Gear host is promoting the initiative’s ‘SAFE’ check, which stands for Spyware, Anti-virus, Firewall and ‘Ensure your operating system is updated’.

To publicise the initiative and website, 10 ‘Get Safe Online Campaign Minis’ will tour the UK when campaign ambassadors will be on hand to give advice to the public. The regional roadshow will visit Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Derby, Leicester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow over the next two weeks.

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