Big brother is watching you: this time it’s our lot, not the Russians, with ‘Cyber Safe’

It wasn’t that long ago that the Tory government took an axe to ad spending, scrapping the old Central Office of Information and moving it to the Cabinet Office (a mysterious entity that seems to be a sort of Whitehall dustbin.)

Maybe Covid-19 has given them a taste for communicating absolutely everything: now among its many advertisers we have the National Cyber Security Centre entering the lists. Isn’t this something that should be fighting the Russians?

But its new campaign ‘Cyber Aware’ seems to be packing a mean budget, with VOD, thousands and billboards and all the rest of it.

And what’s the boxer in the ad advising? Two-step verification, which means you need a code on your phone and is a monumental pain in the bum, and three word passwords. That’ll fox those hackers out there and no mistake. Could kill off online shopping in no time.


We recently had three government ministers, including defence secretary Ben Wallace, fooled into spoof phone calls by what are darkly described as Russian agents. Shouldn’t the National Cyber Security Centre be doing something about this lot? They must use the internet somewhere along the line.

MAA creative scale: 2 (more brainless government communication – not M&C’s fault)

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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