UK Government to Make Citizens ‘Streetwise’ About Online Security

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cyberstreetThe UK government has recently released a new Cyber Streetwise website which aims to change the way consumers and small businesses view online safety by providing the skills and knowledge needed to address cyber security.

The website contains interactive pages, videos, and articles which feature important security information. Users are encouraged to explore the street to learn important tips to ensure their security. The site has been developed and sponsored by a number of high tech companies, including Sophos, Facebook, RBS Group, and Financial Fraud Action UK.

UK Citizens at Risk

Recent research indicates that nearly 50% of computer users in the UK do not take even basic security measures to protect themselves. Only 44% install antivirus and firewall protection on new computers and less than 40% install software patches on a regular basis. Less than a third of users use complex password. Amazingly, nearly 60% of UK citizens do not check a website’s security credentials before entering credit card information when shopping online.

To counter this, the UK government has offered the following security measures that everyone should do. They include the following:

  • Use strong, complex passwords.
  • Install antivirus and firewalls on all computers, and keep them up to date.
  • Use the highest privacy settings on social media sites like Facebook.
  • Check a website’s security credentials before entering financial information such as credit card numbers.
  • Install software patches as soon as they are available.
  • When conducting sensitive business or doing financial transaction make sure the wireless connection in use is secure. If it is not, using a VPN like PRIVATE WiFi can ensure privacy.

UK Government Determined to Help Citizens Protect Themselves

The Cyber Streetwise campaign is funded by the UK government’s Cyber Security Strategy initiative, which started in 2011. The UK government has pledged £650m to help educate citizens and businesses about the cyber threats they face. Implementing best practices is big part of this strategy.

In addition to Cyber Streetwise, the government started the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) early in 2013. CISP aims at helping the private and public sector share cyber threat information.

The UK government also plans to launch a national computer emergency response team this year as part of their effort to combat cybercrime as well as expand vocational cyber security training through internships and apprenticeships.

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Jared Howe

Jared Howe is PRIVATE WiFi’s Senior Manager, Product Marketing Communications. Working in high tech for over 15 years, Jared currently lives in Seattle with his wife, daughter, and their two cats.