According to the government millions of UK internet users are putting themselves at risk of attack from internet criminals because they don't understand threats to their computer or the ways to protect against them. On the back of this the UK government has launched campaign to stop the growth in computer security risks that threaten to slow down the rise of ecommerce.

Over three-quarters of the UK's population (83%) don't know enough about protecting themselves online. With 42% of the population relying on friends and family for online safety advice rather than finding expert information for themselves.

To help the public educate themselves, the Get Safe Online campaign will raise public awareness of the issues and provide solutions through a new website: www.getsafeonline.org.

The campaign is a joint initiative between HM Government, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, part of the National Crime Squad and private sector sponsors from the worlds of technology, retail and finance, including: BT, Dell, eBay, HSBC, LloydsTSB, Microsoft, MessageLabs, securetrading.com and Yell.com.

John Hutton, Cabinet Minister responsible for e-Government, explained: “The Internet has become an essential tool for businesses and consumers, and has brought enormous benefits to our everyday lives, but we all know there are risks too. That's why we're running the Get Safe Online campaign to make the Internet a safer place to make financial transactions and exchange personal information. It's a challenge that I believe will be achieved by this collaboration between public and private sectors we've created. I'm delighted with the support the Campaign has already received”.

However news of the campaign launch was dogged by a leaked document to tech news site

Silicon.com

:

“A Word document sent in error to silicon.com has revealed that the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) has specifically been consulting only with security and online fraud experts willing to pay between £50,000 and £150,000 in order to raise funds for its latest Get Safe Online initiative.

In return, the sponsors are offered the opportunity to use the public sector-run campaign to drive sales and promote their own products and services to the consumers and businesses which the secure computing initiative is targeting”.