UK campaign raises cyber attack awareness

Britain has launched a new campaign to improve cyber common sense and cut down on security breaches from malicious emails and infected USB sticks.

Not installing anti-virus and security software on new devices such as laptops and mobiles means that almost half of us are at risk from cyber attacks.

That is the view of Britain's National Crime Agency, which is launching a new campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of not protecting yourself online.

The campaign is calling for internet users to be "cyber streetwise" and take steps to better protect themselves. The initiative is being led by the National Crime Agency's National Cyber Crime Unit in partnership with a government campaign.

According to the Office of National Statistics, there were more than 10,000 victims of computer viruses in the UK last year, with most being preventable had adequate security software been in place.

The new campaign wants to improve cyber common sense and cut down on the amount of security breaches that occur from opening malicious emails or using infected USB sticks - both of which are cited as common issues among web users.

Jamie Saunders, the director of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit, said: "The internet is a great place to explore the world and do business, and the majority of people won't experience any problems. But for the minority who leave themselves unprotected, not downloading and updating their security software can be very costly.

"It's tricky to put exact figures on the cost of cyber crime to the UK and the number of people who don't protect themselves, but what we do know is that far too many people continue to put themselves and others at risk online.

"However, the cost to individuals not only hits their pockets but also their personal and family life, which is why it's important that everyone takes steps to protect their computer, tablet and mobile."

The NCA is offering four key tips to users to improve web security: encouraging users to install security software, not open emails from unknown sources, take caution with USB sticks and CDs, and buy software from legitimate sources only.

The year 2014 has seen a series of high-profile cyber security issues, including the Heartbleed bug that affected the encryption and protection of personal data online, as well as the hacking of eBay's servers that saw passwords and user names compromised.

According to statistics, almost 40 per cent of adults rarely install or update the security software on new devices, leaving them at risk. It is these sort of stats that have prompted this initiative, say the Government.

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