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UK government wants people and businesses to be more cyber savvy

Time to get streetwise
Mon Jan 13 2014, 13:43
Security threats - password theft

THE UK GOVERNMENT is offering security novices some information about shoring up their homes and businesses.

Dubbed with an accessibly groovy Cyber Streetwise tag, the UK government information includes an interactive website for concerned citizens, that is, concerned citizens who have not heard about PRISM and Tempora and are actually interested in their security.

The Cyberstreetwise website opens with a choice. It asks, "Do you want to protect your home or your business?" We went with the home option.

Once inside we were offered the advice that we should click through a virtual street, meet the people that live there and find out how using the internet might let criminals get between us and our data and money.

"On Cyber Street, click on the doors and characters to view content. In every building you'll find simple steps to help keep you and your family safe online," it says.

Behind each door or person near a door lies a story. The first of these is about what might happen if you share some personal details with a solicitor only to find that the solicitor's office is insecure. Here it is.

For a home user it is staggeringly business focused. But we press on. A few doors down is a couple, male and female. Here we learn that having a bad password is the equivalent of putting a note outside your house that says, "The key is under the lock". The lesson is that if you wouldn't do something in the real world, you shouldn't do it online. That is, you should control your social network accounts like you would secure access to your physical photo albums and diary.

Other doors offer different scenarios. A visit to the bank throws up a range of information, such as how to spot a phishing attack and the advice to install whatever software your bank offers.

It is, if you like, a collection of common sense information that can reasonably be applied to anyone in any situation. Certainly telling people to use a strong password is sage advice, as is the suggestion that you should protect banking and other personal information behind a veil of security software. µ


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