Government escalates war on cyber crime with Consolidated PR

The Government has handed duties for a major cyber crime campaign to Consolidated PR as it fights back against accusations of complacency.

Offensive: The Home Office is leading the attack on cyber crime
Offensive: The Home Office is leading the attack on cyber crime

The £4m drive to educate the public and business about online security is being led by the Home Office and is to commence in October.

Consolidated has been charged with publicising the campaign.

It will work alongside advertising agency M&C Saatchi, which won the tender for the creative duties.

Their appointments come in the wake of a report released in July by the UK Home Affairs Select Committee on cyber crime, which is estimated to cost the UK economy between £18bn and £27bn annually.

Keith Vaz, Labour MP and chairman of the committee, warned that 'we are being too complacent', adding 'the threat of a cyber attack to the UK is so serious it is marked as a higher threat than a nuclear attack'.

As part of the cross-departmental effort, Consolidated will co-ordinate with the Home Office, the Cabinet Office, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Number 10, as well as the National Fraud Authority (NFA).

Peter Wilson, director at the NFA, said the campaign would be 'unlike anything we have done before' and have a key focus on translating 'real world safety habits into the virtual world'.

The campaign funding is part of a wider £650m budget allocated to tackling the issue, first announced in 2011.

Alongside educating the public, investment will also go towards recruiting and training cyber crime experts and developing cyber infrastructure.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: 'We are rolling out a programme of public and SME awareness drives, building on the work of the National Fraud Authority and Get Safe Online. This programme will be delivered in partnership with the private sector and aims at increasing cyber confidence and measurably improving the online safety of consumers and SMEs.

'We have been working to understand the online behaviour of different segments of consumers in order to prepare the ground for these campaigns and to ensure what we do is based on evidence on what works.  The campaign will build on the work we have already been doing to raise awareness at all levels of the need for cyber security."

Blue Rubicon was appointed in February ahead of the opening of the tender for a short-term project to help with early-stage planning around the campaign.

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