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Get safe online


Protect your PC - and yourself - when online!

Millions of UK Internet users are putting themselves at risk of attack from Internet criminals because they don't understand threats to their computer or the ways to protect against them.

These were the findings of a campaign called 'Get Safe Online' launched in October 2005 to tackle this serious problem.

As threats from organised Internet criminals grow, research from Get Safe Online found that over three quarters of the UK's population (83%) don't know enough about protecting themselves online. In fact 42% of the population just rely on friends and family for online safety advice rather than finding expert information for themselves.

The "Get Safe Online Report" which supports the launch reveals the extent of public uncertainty in the UK, where the online retail economy is worth £10 billion a year and 14 million use online banking .

To help the public educate themselves, the Get Safe Online campaign is intended to raise public awareness of the issues and provide solutions through a new website: The website is a one-stop-shop for reliable, up-to-date information about online safety, to give home users and small businesses the advice they need to use the Internet safely.

The campaign is a joint initiative between HM Government, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, part of the National Crime Squad and private sector sponsors from the worlds of technology, retail and finance, including: BT, Dell, eBay, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Microsoft, MessageLabs, and

Key findings from the Get Safe Online survey were:

More online responsibility needed - only 15% of people believe that it's their own responsibility to protect themselves from cyber crime; 49% believe it should be the responsibility of big business and 11% think it should be the Government's responsibility.

Fear of online crime - one in five people in the UK (17%) said Internet crime was of greater concern than physical crimes like car theft and mugging. But despite this, 22% of us still open suspicious files from unknown sources and can unwittingly spread viruses to others. Educating users of this threat is one of the key goals of the Get Safe Online campaign.

The computer knowledge gap - it seems when it comes to safe computing there is confusion about how to practice this. Although a massive 87% of people surveyed said they rated securing their computer as one of their top security priorities, 52% of people went on to say they had little or no knowledge of safe computing practices.

Furthermore, most of the Internet users interviewed didn't update their anti-virus software enough - leaving them vulnerable to online attack. Only a third of respondents (32%) updated their anti-virus software at least every three months.

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