The government has launched a new campaign to help people protect themselves while shopping or banking online.
The 'Cyber Streetwise' initiative aims to "change the way people view online safety" as well as teach them "how to take control of their cyber security".
A website – cyberstreetwise.com – has been created, featuring a virtual high street, along which users can navigate, searching for advice that fits their circumstances. A fashion shop named Boo-Teek, for example, offers online shopping safety advice; while a surgery offers help for keeping your computer healthy.
The campaign forms part of the government's National Cyber Security Programme, which aims to deliver the government's vision of "a vibrant, resilient and secure cyberspace" that will "enhance prosperity, national security and a strong society".
Security Minister James Brokenshire said: "The internet has radically changed the way we work and socialise. It has created a wealth of opportunities, but with these opportunities there are also threats. As a government we are taking the fight to cyber criminals wherever they are in the world."
The Cyber Streetwise campaign teaches users that the safety precautions they take in the real world should also apply online.
"Research shows that shoppers don't adopt the same behaviours when shopping online as contrasted with shopping on the High Street," Action Fraud said in a statement. "A person wouldn't walk around with their bag open or wallet on show, yet when shopping online due to the speed of technology, people can be open to unnecessary risk if they aren't careful when using their credit card."
Action Fraud says that people can make themselves safer by adopting a few simple "online behaviours", such as:
- Using strong, memorable passwords
- Installing anti-virus software on new devices
- Checking privacy settings on social media
- Shopping safely online – always ensuring to check online retail sites are secure
- Downloading software and application patches when prompted