Staying safe online 

Safeguarding blog Sept 21

Let’s talk about online safety……

I hear the groans and I really do understand but I cannot stress enough the importance of how serious this is.

Many of us think that because the online world is virtual, it isn’t real, but let me assure you that it is most certainly real.  Just as in our everyday ‘real world’, there are bad and good people in the online world; bad people who mean you harm and want to take what you have, and hurt you and humiliate you into the bargain.  In the everyday world, you don’t give out your personal details to complete strangers, so please do not do that in the online world.

We are advised to change our passwords regularly; this is because hackers may well be working on breaking your passwords.  If you are changing them at regular intervals this makes it much harder to be hacked.  Also if a hacker has been observing you enter your password while you are out and about, changing your password will put paid to the hacker’s plan.

I know it can be a pain to remember passwords but try not to use your birthday, your children's or grandchildren’s names, or passwords that could be easily guessed if someone is tracking you on social media.

We all like to receive emails – well actually it depends on who the email is from.  If you are anything like me you may well get around 20+ emails a day to your personal email address.  Most of them will be legitimate emails from a company you have interacted with and have given your email address to.  However, some will be from hackers phishing for information about you.  At this point I have to emphasise something without scaring you all - if you receive an email you are not expecting or it’s from someone you have never heard of do not click on any links within the email.  This is a prime example of how hackers introduce spyware onto your device.  That spyware enables them to follow everything you now do on your device including getting the passwords to your accounts.

Refrain from putting too much personal information on social media.  I see some friends on my social media divulging so much on a daily basis.  They ‘check in‘ here, there and everywhere.  They give details of when they are going on holiday (great information for potential burglars).  I’ve also seen photos of passports and driving licenses shared with all and sundry (excellent start for someone to steal your identity).  Unless you have your account set to private, anyone will be able to see what you post.

Remember to treat the online world as the everyday world, and keep your personal information to yourself.  Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your parents or employers to see.  Once you’ve put it out there it will be out there forever.
Pauline Jackson
District Safeguarding Officer