Millions of computer users are at risk of internet fraud because they don’t know how to protect themselves online, says a government survey.
Experts estimate that UK shoppers spend about 10 billion GBP a year, and 14 million people now bank online.
But despite this surge in internet activity, more than 80 per cent of web users admit they don’t do enough to protect themselves online.
More than half of those questioned said they had little or no knowledge of how to boost security while 42 per cent said they relied on friends and family for safety advice.
The survey results were released at the launch of a new campaign called Get Safe Online. It’s a joint initiative by the government, the police and several major companies such as BT. The campaign aims to raise public awareness of internet security issues and provide solutions through a new Get Safe Online website .
The site is designed to be a one-stop-shop for reliable, up-to-date information and advice about online safety.
Criminals turn to the net
Sharon Lemon, Head of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, said:’Increasingly we are seeing organised criminals turning to the internet as a vehicle for their criminality. And as more of us are connecting to the internet to shop, bank and communicate, we need to make sure that we do so as safely as possible. Get Safe Online gives the public the information they need to protect themselves.’
The campaign’s tips for avoiding the clutches of internet fraudsters start with a ‘Safe’ check:
- s is spyware – run an anti-spyware programme
- a is anti-virus – get anti-virus protection
- f is firewall – have a firewall and make sure it’s switched on
- e is ensure the operating system is updated
Secondly, take time to educate yourself and your family so you understand the risks and apply reasonable judgement when you’re online. Thirdly, keep monitoring and stay alert. The threats are always changing so it’s important to ensure your spyware and anti-virus programmes are up to date.