The UK government has launched the first stage of a £4m cyber awareness campaign as part of the National Cyber Security Programme.
Marking the strategy’s first anniversary in December 2012, minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said business and government needed to continue to educate customers so that everyone using the internet is better informed of the potential risks and how to protect themselves online.
The campaign, launched by security minister James Brokenshire, is aimed at helping UK SMEs and consumers to stay safe online by raising awareness about threats and where to find help and information.
The Home Office is inviting bids from media, PR and creative agencies to work on a communications campaign that will involve a range of digital, on and offline media.
The communications campaign will begin towards the end of 2013 and will draw on expertise from the Cabinet Office, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and partners from the business sector including Get Safe Online.
“The digitisation of the UK economy has made our lives easier and has created huge opportunities, but it has also created individual security risks,” said Brokenshire.
“If we are to meet these new challenges it’s essential we step up our efforts to stay safe online. By making small changes British businesses can remain competitive in the global economy and consumers can have greater confidence using the internet.”
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The National Fraud Authority (NFA) has shown that minor improvements to poor online behaviour by consumers and small businesses could prevent significant losses online.
Many cyber incidents could be prevented by adopting simple steps such as not sharing passwords, the NFA found.
An invitation to tender is now on the Government Procurement Service’s online portal.
Government is also calling on victims of online fraud to report it to Action Fraud.
Action Fraud is the national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime and provides a central point of contact for information and advice.
The service is run by the National Fraud Authority, the government agency that helps co-ordinate the fight against fraud in the UK.
The government has rated cyber attacks as a Tier 1 threat and has committed £650m to the transformative National Cyber Security Programme to bolster the UK’s cyber defences.
In his one-year review of the cyber security strategy, Maude said a survey found 93% of large corporations and 76% of small businesses had experienced a cyber security breach in the past year.
The average cost of a UK data breach increased from £79 to £86 per record this year, according to the latest Cost of Data Breach Study by Symantec and the Ponemon Institute.
This puts the average cost of a breach to a UK organisation at just over £2m.