Small businesses in the UK must take greater steps to protect themselves against internet scams and viruses, according to a new report.Close to half the companies surveyed (44 per cent) said they'd suffered from some form of cyber crime; 36 per cent of these had been hit by a computer virus, while 18 per cent had been the victim of spyware, hacking or phishing.The Get Safe Online campaign – backed by the government and leading computing firms – offers free advice to small firms about how they can best guard themselves against data loss or online fraud."It is relatively simple for businesses, however small, to keep one step ahead of the crooks. I urge all small businesses to use the new leaflet at www.getsafeonline.org to secure their online business today," said Sharon Lemon, head of e-Crime at the Serious Organised Crime Agency."Businesses also must look at access control, data encryption and secure password practices, as well as looking at other measures such as staff training. But, it's also important to remember that by taking a few simple precautions, online risks needn't overshadow the huge benefits that the internet brings to UK businesses," said the managing director of Get Safe Online, Tony Neate.The measures suggested by the campaign include securing IT equipment and storage media against theft or loss, encryption and limiting access to secure information.© Adfero Ltd