Get Safe Online week 2008

Get Safe Online

Put your best dancing shoes on and deck the halls with bunting, because it’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s Get Safe Online week here in the UK.

International celebrities like Brad Pitt, Bill Gates and that little guy who used to be in Diff’rent Strokes are converging on London for a media blitz to help raise awareness amongst the British public of computer security issues. A 120 foot 3D hologram of Carol Vorderman will be beamed above Nelson’s Column to provide shoppers and tourists with tips on how to avoid having their online bank account raided, and how to upgrade their version of Internet Explorer. Meanwhile, episodes of top soap operas Eastenders and Coronation Street will feature storylines about identity theft and scareware.

Okay, so some of that last paragraph may not be entirely true.

But wouldn’t it be great if it was? You see, I think Get Safe Online is a terrific website with superb material on it, and there’s no doubting the very real determination of the people behind the organisation to spread the word about how to use the internet safely. But – and it’s a big but – no-one apart from security geeks seem to know about the website, and we’re hardly the most important people to train about computer security.

I hope the awareness week is successful in raising the profile of the site and safe computing practices amongst the general public, but the government needs to put much more effort into educating the masses into how to surf safely online.