MPs demand cyber crime awareness campaign

MPs have demanded better awareness of malware with a large scale public campaign to highlight its costly dangers.

The Science and Technology Select Committee came to the conclusion that while malware is becoming an increasing threat there is not enough being done to stop it. MP Andrew Miller, who led the committee, claimed there is much to be done to ensure that the internet is a safe place.

“Despite the increasing use of malware, the internet is still a reasonably safe place to go about one’s business, provided users take a few sensible precautions,” Miller stated.

He continued: “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.”

Now, there are calls for a television campaign and greater backing of Get Safe Online – just as TechEye demanded some months ago.

As Get Safe Online managing director Tony Neate told us, preventative measures are among the best to combat threats posed by malware.

Indeed, the problem is supposedly costing the country in the region of £27 billion a year, according to the Cabinet Office’s own figures.

Up until now there has been insufficient funding for Get Safe Online, which told us it doesn’t “come anywhere near to the amount needed for an effective TV or magazine campaign, it is totally out of our powers to do this”.

More recently, there have been signs of greater backing from the government for preventing cyber crime, but it is clear that many MPs still think more needs to be done.

They claimed that a television campaign was “crucial” to raise awareness.

According to the report, much of the measures amount to basic protection, however, the public is often awash in a sea of technical jargon.  

Security experts at Sophos backed the moves. “Simple, easy-to-understand language is by far the best way to help computer users understand how to protect themselves online, and we are keen supporters of the government-backed GetSafeOnline website,” security expert Graham Cluley said.

He continued: “A key challenge however for sites and resources like this, is that they tend to be known about only by those already involved in IT security, rather than the average person in the street.

“The only way to change this is by a properly funded broad awareness campaign.”