Neighbourhood Watch partners with Avast to tackle cyber crime

Growing concern over cyber crime launches new Cyberhood Watch with Avast

Over a third of Neighbourhood Watch members are more concerned about cyber crime than physical crime, according to a survey of over 14,000 Neighbourhood Watch members. In fact, one in five of those members has been a victim of cyber crime.

As such, the new Cyberhood Watch initiative is being launched with Avast, an antivirus and virtual private network (VPN) provider.

For households across England and Wales, cyber crime is steadily becoming more of a threat than physical crime, and only a minority of about 15% of the 14,000 research participants would disagree. Roughly 50% believed the threat level was similar, and 34% thought cyber crime was the greater concern.

The result is "Cyberhood Watch", a partnership between Neighbourhood Watch and Avast to provide online cyber security courses for local communities that wouldn't otherwise have access to resources keeping them informed on the latest scams.

"Neighbourhood Watch is about making sure that fewer people feel afraid, vulnerable or isolated in the place where they live," said the organisation's CEO, John Hayward-Cripps. "Our members recognise that the threat of cyber crime 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."

Those affected by cyber crime have experienced financial loss, data loss, and emotional distress. About 38% of those surveyed know at least one victim of cyber crime, and an additional 33% had heard of victims they didn't know personally. Half of the participants were above the age of 65, indicating a significant threat for a demographic traditionally less tech-savvy, but sometimes more dependent on digital means of communication due to social isolation.

Avast's contributions to the initiative will include a process of training and accreditation for Neighbourhood Watch representatives, local educational events, downloadable resources, and updated information on emerging threats.

"Avast has always believed that being safe online should be a basic right for all, which is why we have free versions of our cyber security products so that everyone can get great online protection at no cost," said Peter Turner, senior vice president of consumer security for Avast. "We are delighted to provide our support by working with [Neighbourhood Watch] to deliver a cyber security accreditation programme with training courses to help members become more confident and knowledgeable in supporting their community cyber security requirements."

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