The majority of the British public don’t download the latest software updates for their mobile phone (70%) or computer (65%) as soon as they are available, according to research by Ispos MORI. The same research found that the majority of people were also unaware of the security benefits of downloading the most recent software updates.

GCHQ’s cyber security arm, CESG, advises that software updates are the most effective action Britons can take to protect themselves online, and only take a few minutes to download. Installing the latest security updates provides greater protection from viruses and other cyber threats.

That’s why Cyber Streetwise is launching the #quickupdates campaign today; to raise awareness of online protection and the importance of software updates among the public. Visit the Cyber Streetwise website to find out more about software updates, and follow #quickupdates on Twitter for news and advice.

Danny Lawrence, National Police Chiefs’ Council PROTECT Co-ordinator for Cyber Crime says: “Many people believe software updates are purely cosmetic but they also address security vulnerabilities in software, plugging gaps which hackers exploit to gain access to the general public’s devices. It takes very little time or effort to download the latest software updates. Do not ignore this risk by thinking that it won’t happen to you; because it just might.”

The campaign launch comes after it was revealed that an estimated two million cyber crime offences were committed in England and Wales last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Commenting on the ONS Crime Survey statistics, Mark Castle, Chief Executive of Victim Support, said: “These figures show the staggering scale of fraud and cybercrime in England and Wales – with one in ten people now falling victim. As a charity that reaches out to almost 50,000 fraud victims a year, we know the serious impact these crimes can have. As well as possible financial losses, fraud can leave people feeling violated, lacking in confidence and ashamed.

“There is a clear need for strong and consistent awareness raising campaigns, to help prevent people being taken in by often sophisticated scams. It is essential that all police officers are trained in a basic awareness of fraud and cybercrime prevention, and in the provision of practical advice, to help tackle these offences.

“Victim Support works closely with the City of London Police, the lead for all forces on fraud, is an active member of the Home Office’s Joint Fraud Taskforce, and supports organisations such as Cifas, Cyber Streetwise and Get Safe Online – helping ensure that fraud victims get the support they need and the respect they deserve to help them move beyond these often devastating crimes.”

If you’ve experienced cyber crime or fraud, you can contact us for free and confidential information and support. You can also follow our top tips for staying safe online and protecting yourself from fraud.