UK.gov wasted £20m telling you to 'be safe online, mmkay'

Survey finds public information campaign was 'ill-informed and utterly ineffective'

The UK wasted £20m on raising awareness about cybercrime, a study has shown, as the public still knows almost nothing about protecting itself online.

Research published by YouGov and CSID has shown that in spite of the National Audit Office reporting that £20m had been allocated by government in financial year 2014/15 "to drive engagement and awareness of the cyber threat among SMEs and individuals" a tiny portion of the nation is aware of the government's campaigns.

Reportedly, only 13 per cent of British adults were aware of GetSafeOnline.org, according to the survey, while 84 per cent did not notice any promotion of Safer Internet Day 2016 when it was advertised in February 2016.

Meanwhile, Cyber Streetwise, which accounts for a whopping £4m of the overall budget, was only recognised by six per cent of the public.

Whether this is a promotional failure or representative of the quality of those initiatives is not clear.

CSID's managing director in Europe, Andy Thomas said: “The government, police, anti-fraud organisations and business leaders must face facts” as their “existing response to educating and protecting consumers at risk of cybercrime is uncoordinated, ill-informed and utterly ineffective…”

The study was based on two YouGov Omnibus surveys. The first had a total sample size of 2,017 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2-3 March 2016. The second had a total sample size of 2,042 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18-21 March 2016. Both surveys were carried out online. ®


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