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Campaign could cut cyber crime

A major publicity campaign is needed to help people understand how to protect themselves from online crime, MPs urge. The Commons science and technology committee has called for Government to provide clear information about security online.

They estimate that around 80% of cyber attacks could be stopped through simple safety precautions, but that current advice is too full of jargon and not easily accessible.

The committee also suggests that police officers should be better trained to help victims of online attacks and that the Government should consider imposing statutory safety standards on software.

The report states: “The overwhelming message from those who gave evidence to us was that there is a need for computer users to be better informed. Those using the internet need to be aware of the potential risk and have a trusted source of authoritative advice and up to date information about malware and internet scams.”

Andrew Miller, chair of the committee, said: “Government departments need to realise that better public information about computer safety could save huge numbers of people the hassle of having their personal details stolen.

“Knowledge is the best defence against fear, so the government should focus on raising awareness of how to stay safe online, rather than scaring people about the dangers of cybercrime.”

ChrisHardy, of the public sector team at McAfee, which contributed to the report, said: “Numerous reports over the years, including our own, have shown that there is poor public awareness around personal security online. Therefore, as more information moves online through the ‘digital by default’ approach to public services it is important for the Government to work on equipping the population with the right intelligence to gain their trust and make the internet a safer place. Encouraging the development of standards is one way to help the public recognise when appropriate levels of protection are in place and develop their trust in secure and functional online services.”

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