NHTCU to launch Get Safe Online campaign

Small businesses and individual users are to be targeted by the police with an online safety campaign, but 'in a nice way, not in a big scary way'

The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) is launching a campaign next week to encourage more consumers and small businesses to transact online by providing clear guidance on how to interact with the Web safely and securely.

The Get Safe Online campaign will target online consumers and businesses with fewer than 10 employees. The NHCTU claims these two groups "are most vulnerable to the security threats that we see on a daily basis".

The NHTCU has been recruiting support for the campaign since last November under the working title Project Endurance.

Several large firms including Dell, HSBC, Microsoft, and eBay are involved in the scheme and will form part of the Get Safe Online Steering Group, which is chaired by Detective Chief Superintendent Sharon Lemon.

Speaking at the Webroot Spyware Summit in Westminster on Thursday, Howard Lamb, crime reduction coordinator at the NHTCU, said the aim of the project was to highlight the potential pit-falls of interacting online without scaremongering. "It's a matter of educating the public in a nice way, not in a big scary way," he said.

The NHTCU is confident the campaign will be effective and will provide help and advice via specially created Web site. "Next week you will see one of the best programmes for Internet awareness," Lamb said.

John Walker, head of operational security at Experian, also speaking at the Spyware Summit, said that large companies need to make their employees more aware of Internet security at home. "Industry needs to focus attention on home users," he said . "Many people are operating from ill-informed positions. How many people have unsecured Wi-Fi access? People need to be aware their channels are open to surveillance."

Webroot are a security company which specialise in anti-spyware software and organised the summit to promote awareness of the problem.

More information about the Get Safe Online scheme can be found here.