That government Cyber Aware website has cost £6.37 per visit since it launched

You may have seen posters like the one above on the Tube. If you followed the link included, then you’re in the minority. The Cyber Aware government website (formerly Cyber Streetwise) designed to offer advice on cybersecurity to individuals and businesses has been visited by around 1.9 million people between January 2014 and October 2016, according to a freedom of information request from Buzzfeed.

The whole campaign has cost more than £12 million, meaning that each visit to the site cost £6.37. That’s bad, but it gets worse when the FoI request also revealed that the government had no information on where in the world the visitors were from, how long they spent on site and whether they actually absorbed any of the information it was designed to spread.

Of course, the cost of the campaign is more than just a website, and it’s possible that much of the advice was absorbed passively through web, TV and billboard advertising. Some of the videos, including the one below, have been viewed more than 1,000,000 times.

A government spokesperson made exactly that point, arguing that “the number of online visitors should not be used as the sole indicator of Cyber Aware’s success”.

“The Cyber Aware campaign is working. Last year alone, an estimated ten million adults and one million small businesses said they were more likely to maintain or take up key cybersecurity behaviours because of it.”

Others are less impressed. Take Labour’s Rupa Huq, for example, the shadow minister for crime and prevention. “It is clear that even the Home Office recognises this campaign has been an expensive flop. Cybercrime is a growing problem for businesses and consumers across the country, but the Tories aren’t giving people the help they need to protect themselves online,” she said.

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