Less than half of consumers take ANY steps to stay safe online, UK government survey finds

A survey of 22,762 consumers conducted by the British government found that less than half took the most basic steps to protect themselves online, the government revealed as part of a new Cyber Streetwise campaign aimed at consumers and small businesses.

The Telegraph reported that “more than half” of the population failed to take basic steps such as using security software or downloading patches and updates for Windows and other operating systems. In the survey of 22,672 consumers, 44% said they installed security software and patched regularly.

On mobile devices, that figure was even worse, with only one in five (21%) using security software or downloading updates.

According to V3’s report, around a fifth said that they did not understand the risks involved, and that 32% didn’t understand what internet security software did. Funding will come from the government’s Cyber Security Programme.

Security minister James Brokenshire said the campaign, which is aimed both at consumers and small businesses, was timely because, “The internet has radically changed the way we work and socialise. It has created a wealth of opportunities, but with these opportunities there are also threats. As a government we are taking the fight to cyber criminals wherever they are in the world.”

“However, by taking a few simple steps while online the public can keep cyber criminals out and their information safe. Cyber Streetwise is an innovative new campaign that will provide everyone with the knowledge and confidence to make simple and effective changes to stay safe online.”

Forbes highlighted the campaign website’s basic, sensible approach – likening risks online, to those offline, with tag lines including “You wouldn’t do this in the real world, so why do it online?” followed by examples such as shouting out a PIN number in the street, and likening that to insecure passwords.

A We Live Security guide to how to clean up a PC, and make it run faster into the bargain, can be found here.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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