ISPs, banks, social networks and mobile operators like Vodafone have been working together on the next phase of Cyber Streetwise - the campaign that aims to help you stay safe online...

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Earlier this year we spoke to Peter Wilson from Cyber Streetwise about the campaign’s objective to raise awareness of the different ways we can keep ourselves safe online.

As Cyber Streetwise enters Phase Two of the campaign, we catch up with Peter to find out how it’s been going, what’s next, what we should be keeping an eye on and how the tech landscape has changed in 2014. Read on to find out…

A team effort

Peter_Wilson_thumb“Overall we’ve been very impressed with how the Cyber Streetwise campaign has gone to date,” Peter tells us. “The key thing here is that this is a cross-sector response to the issue. It’s not just a government campaign; it’s brands like Vodafone, along with banks, ISPs and other companies who have all clubbed together to agree to raise awareness of some of the basic things people can do to keep themselves and their families safe online.

“The whole objective of this campaign over two years is to do exactly that – to help individuals, families and small businesses.”

That ethos has manifested itself in a broad range of mediums. There’s the Cyber Streetwise website itself – a resource packed with videos, tips and tools. There’s also a huge range of digital and radio ads and posters in public places:

“It’s very challenging to get the whole message across,” Peter explains. “So what we’ve done is create lots of video content and clips, and to try to get people to look at the Cyber Streetwise website in order to get whatever information might be relevant for them.”



It’s a blanket approach to building up our knowledge of online safety, so with that in mind, how do you measure its success?

“We do several quantitative surveys over time. We’ve measured this on a number of different things, because the key issue isn’t about one single thing like getting passwords right, or updating anti-virus software, or putting a firewall in place – it’s all of the above and more. The idea is that we have a key set of metrics in place,” Peter says, “so we can look at how people react to the campaign and whether they actually understand some of the tools and tips we’ve given them. Most importantly, we’re then looking at whether they’re adopting those tips in their own behaviours. And in fact, we’re seeing a phenomenal response.

“The amazing result is that we’re seeing a nearly five percent shift now in consumer behaviour, in ten or more of those areas, over the last six months. That’s a really healthy improvement: that would infer that our education around cyber-crime means we’re saving people around £100 million in loss online. We said that by March 2015 we’d hit the five percent mark. So the fact that we still have six months to get there is great.

Moving forwards

Cyber Streetwise is at the halfway point, so it’s time to kick things into the next gear. We wanted to get an idea from Peter about what we can expect to see from the campaign, and how the Home Office’s learnings so far have affected the plan…

“The focus now is to apply what we’ve learned,” he tells us. “We’ve learned a lot about whether people are absorbing the information on offer the right way. We’ve learned which areas we need to make clearer. One of the things that came out, for instance, was that people craved more information about how to do things – much more basic stuff than we were perhaps pitching at the start. Things like making password complex but really easy to remember. So a new video about that has already launched, and within two weeks it’s already had nearly 400,000 views.”

And on top of more targeted info, Peter explains that Cyber Streetwise 2.0 is a lot more clear cut in its overarching message:

“This time, the campaign differentiates, very simply, between being ‘Cyber Unwise’ and ‘Cyber Streetwise’. So rather than there being a potential middle ground, we’ve now got a campaign that’s very black and white. You’re either keen to be savvy about being safe or you’re not.”

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So the campaign has changed over the past year, but has the tech landscape?

“There are always concerns about the growth of smartphones,” Peter says, “and people accessing the internet on their mobiles so much more than they have in the past. The only problem is that people tend to view security as being something they employ on their laptop or their home PC, rather than on their mobile devices as well. So we’ve got a lot of content around how important it is to do that as well, and how to keep your phone safe.

“If you cast your mind back over the years, similar campaigns around road safety and driving safely have taken time to really embed and be taken on board. It does take time. But I think that in this case, because the growth of the internet and the technology around it has been so prolific in such a small space of time, everyone involved in that spread has a responsibility to help. That includes ISPs, social networks and brands like Vodafone. In this case the government is really just helping to kickstart some of that.

“We’ve seen some great responses on that front,” he says in closing. “Online safety is clearly something that we’re all starting to realise is difficult. The real success depends on companies like Vodafone really linking to the Cyber Streetwise website.”

And that’s definitely something we can do: click here to head to the Cyber Streetwise website.