Community safety organization Neighbourhood Watch has established a cyber-safety initiative to help Brits protect themselves and their families from online crime.
Formed in response to the rising level of cybercrime, the new scheme aims to teach communities about the risks associated with going online while also gathering data on which regions of the UK are most vulnerable to cyber-threats.
According to a survey of 14,000 Neighbourhood Watch members carried out by the watch in conjunction with Avast, 20% have been victims of cybercrime, while 38% know someone else who has become a victim of cybercrime.
Researchers found a general lack of confidence in talking about cybercrime experiences within the community, and some gaps in understanding around the best methods of online protection.
In terms of financial impact, over a third (36%) lost money, and of them, 29% lost more than £1,000. The majority of these crimes were kept secret by the victims, with only 30% reporting the incident to the police.
“Neighbourhood Watch is about making sure that fewer people feel afraid, vulnerable or isolated in the place where they live, and in recent years that means helping members learn how to protect themselves, and their local community, against cybercrime has become a key priority,” said John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch.
“This may surprise some people who think Neighbourhood Watch is solely focused on physical crime prevention. Our members recognize that the threat of cybercrime is very real, and they tell us that there is a definite need for simple advice and resources, so they feel better equipped to defend themselves against it and advise others.”
Avast’s support will include a training and accreditation scheme for local Neighbourhood Watch representatives, local informative events, downloadable guides and resources, and ongoing sharing of information about relevant emerging threats.
“Neighbourhood Watch community leads, who often represent people and places that are most at risk of cyber threats, are increasingly asking for help following feedback from local members who have experienced scams or security incidents themselves or know someone who has. We are delighted to provide our support by working with them to deliver a cybersecurity accreditation programme with training courses to help members become more confident and knowledgeable in supporting their community cybersecurity requirements,” said Peter Turner, senior vice president, Consumer Security, Avast.