Keeping safe online

The internet gives criminals the ability to operate from anywhere in the world and cyber-crime is no longer just for the hacking elite - it has become dominated by organised, professional gangs. Therefore it’s important that everyone keeps themselves as safe as possible when online. Here are some tips and advice to help.

Strong passwords

  • The National Cyber Security Centre advises that the best way to make a password memorable and strong is to use three random words.
  • Your most important accounts are your email, social media and online banking accounts, so it’s important to use strong, separate passwords for each of these.
  • Adding numbers or capital letters will make passwords stronger
  • Never share your passwords

Online shopping

  • Ensure website addresses start with https:// and show the padlock symbol next to the address. This shows it is secure site.

Links and attachments

  • Don’t click on a link or open an attachment unless you are sure it is safe.
  • Never click links to your bank - search for their website online or type in the direct web address.
  • Don’t reply to scam emails to say ‘no’ as it alerts scammers that your email address is active.


  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer.
  • Make sure the Firewall is turned on.
  • Create a password for your router so no one else can access it without your consent.
  • Always download the latest software and App updates as soon as they are available as they help to protect your devices from viruses and hackers.

Phone calls

  • Never give someone who has made an unexpected phone call access to your computer. They may install software to supposedly solve a problem but it will instead allow them access to your personal data.

Don’t be too friendly!

  • Don’t give away too much information on social media sites. Hide your details from people you don’t know and only accept ‘friends’ who you actually know.

Advice for children

  • Parents/guardians should advise children not to upload personal information and photos online, nor to send photos of a personal nature to anyone.
  • Likewise, parents should not post photos of their children on their own accounts if they can be accessed by people who are not genuine friends or family.
  • Children should never accept friendship requests from people they don’t know, should never arrange to meet up with someone they’ve ‘met’ online and should tell their parents if someone has asked them to do so.
  • Passwords should never be shared with others.
  • Children need to know that not everyone online is who they say they are and that they should tell their parents if they get a message that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Webcams should be unplugged or covered when not in use as they can be hacked and used as a spying tool.

Whilst all of this does not guarantee that you won’t be the victim or a scam or cyber-crime, at least it will make it as difficult as possible for the criminals to succeed.