Statistics suggest that up to 40 per cent of users do not install and update antivirus software

Campaign to promote 'cyber common sense'

A new campaign launched by the National Crime Agency together with the UK government aims to educate users of electronic devices about cyber dangers.

The campaign will focus on such cyber protection essentials as installing antivirus, as data suggests that up to 40 per cent of users don’t bother to install any protective software on their new laptops, smartphones and tablets, let alone keep it up-to-date.

“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,” said Jamie Saunders, the director of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit.

"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.

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 focuses on four key areas: teaching computer users that they should always install security software and keep it up-to-date, not open emails from unknown sources, take caution with USB sticks and CDs, and buy software from legitimate sources only.

"The Internet has radically changed the way we work and socialise, but cyber-crime now poses a serious threat to the UK, and the government has taken action to transform the way we respond,” said organised crime minister Karen Bradley.

"Through the National Cyber Security Programme, we have dedicated £860m over five years to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to go online. The NCA works with police forces to pursue those involved in criminal activity.”

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.

These incidents have increased the focus on web security, particularly when paired with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's continued calls for users to do more to protect data from government snooping, as well as hackers.

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