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Are you staying safe online?

Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 3,178

Scope community team

Staying safe online has never been more important. Of course, it was always highly recommended to take measures to make sure you stay harm free online, but in this period of time the demand and pressure for online services has increased the necessity for security.

Key safety tips

With that in mind, we thought we would share some key steps you can take to ensure you stay safe online.

Frequently review your privacy and security settings

Most phones, web browsers, applications and social media websites have adjustable privacy settings. These will enable you to do things like:
  • Decide what data you share with the organisation who's product you are accessing.
  • Customise what details you share publicly with others, particularly on social media. 
  • Determine how easy or hard it will be for people to get in contact with you.

Keep apps and software up to date

This might seem like a straight forward one, but you would be surprised by the number of people who either aren't aware of the benefits of keeping things up to date, or just don't do it. Updates to software and applications often contain security enhancements which make it harder for any potential hacker to cause harm. Older versions of software and applications are generally more vulnerable due to various bugs or not having the most up to date features.

image of a padlock

Browse safely

You wouldn't choose to walk through a dangerous neighbourhood, so it makes sense not to visit dangerous neighbourhoods online. Cybercriminals use content that stands out as bait. They know people are sometimes tempted by dubious content and may let their guard down when searching for it. The Internet is filled with hard-to-see pitfalls, where one wrong click could expose personal data or infect your device with malware. By resisting the urge, you don't even give the hackers a chance, so if in doubt, don't click.

Choose strong passwords

The problem with passwords is that people tend to choose easy ones to remember, such as "password" and "123456", which are easy for cyber criminals to guess. It is advised to select strong passwords that are harder for cybercriminals to demystify. Password manager software can help you to manage multiple passwords so that you don't forget them. A strong password is one that is unique and complex—at least 15 characters long, mixing letters, numbers and special characters. You can read the worst password choices of 2020 here.

Quick fire tips

  • Be careful what details you share with others online. If you are sharing anything personal, such as a full name, date of birth, address or bank details, ensure it is with someone completely trustworthy, and delete the message after use.
  • Only make online purchases from trusted retailers.
  • Watch what you post online, because once something you wouldn't want sharing is out there, there's rarely any going back. You may want to delete something you no longer wish to see online, however that doesn't mean that others haven't already made a copy, therefore putting your Internet safety at risk.

Do you stay safe online?

  • Do you diligently follow any of the tips listed above?
  • What are your own words of wisdom for staying safe online?
  • With it being a rather prominent subject right now, do you think Internet and social media companies should be doing more to protect people?
If you have any Internet safety concerns, please contact the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
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Replies

  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 3,866 Disability Gamechanger
    I think the Internet has  caused alot of problems  with crime  such as abuse  fraud  trolling  bullying  stalking 

    Alot of people have been hacked  on social media 

    Companies and banks have been hacked as well  the only thing you can do is set your privacy  settings  have  finger print  or face recognition   stronger passwords  on some sites  you can have two passwords and change your passwords every 6 to 8 weeks 

    There is only so much you can do  I think the pandemic has made things worse  as  well
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,657 Disability Gamechanger
    I am pleased to say I follow all of the tips listed but it’s always good to be reminded and there is always room for improvement in my opinion.

    One tip I would add is that it is rarely necessary to give true details, like your real name, unless you are doing something “official” like applying for a passport. What I tend to do is just give the first letter of each of my names.

    I don’t think companies should be expected to do more to protect people. If someone wants to be foolish enough to share lots of information online, that is their decision, and they need to live with the consequences. Too often people look for someone else to blame for their own mistakes.

    Just my opinion and even with that said I am all for education so that people can be equipped with the knowledge to keep themselves safe.
  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 3,767 Disability Gamechanger
    There is a great danger that if we share too much information or make the wrong comments on sites where we can easily be identified then it might come back and bite us on the backside, this is especially true for people of working age who might at different times be looking for work and a potential employer might "profile" you.
    But it has to be said that whilst we have to be careful in our use of the internet it really is in general a force for good not bad, and that has been well proven over the last 12 months, when it had literally become a lifeline for so many of us.
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 1,651 Listener
    I do try, only recent time I had a problem was around the middle of last November I bought an Xbox Series X on eBay, paid £675 but because I paid on Paypal the seller assumed I was a scalper and gave me the money back! Eh?! I don't trust the Internet enough to give it my full Bank details for a BACS transfer, even though I've been using eBay as a buyer and seller for about 23 years and have 100% positive feedback.

  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,289 Disability Gamechanger
    Well over the last few months I have received many email letters which are scams and many for credit cards saying my account is being blocked and I need to enter my details, also had supposed PayPal, Amazon and EBay all stating my accounts are being blocked please enter your personal details ect. They come with identical logos the locked padlock so very convincing. All I do and it works every time is click on the tab, or button forgotten my login details and wow nothing happens or if you press our products  again nothing the scammers are getting better and better. I read recently of a retired professional couple where informed their bank branch was under investigation and to move their funds to this account or risk losing it. Yes they transferred £700,000 the next day went to the bank to transfer another £200,000 and where confronted by the manager who enquired why and it was only then they know they had been scammed and they lost their £700,000.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 1,651 Listener
    wilko said:
    Well over the last few months I have received many email letters which are scams and many for credit cards saying my account is being blocked and I need to enter my details, also had supposed PayPal, Amazon and EBay all stating my accounts are being blocked please enter your personal details ect. They come with identical logos the locked padlock so very convincing. All I do and it works every time is click on the tab, or button forgotten my login details and wow nothing happens or if you press our products  again nothing the scammers are getting better and better. I read recently of a retired professional couple where informed their bank branch was under investigation and to move their funds to this account or risk losing it. Yes they transferred £700,000 the next day went to the bank to transfer another £200,000 and where confronted by the manager who enquired why and it was only then they know they had been scammed and they lost their £700,000.
    Stuff like that is a known scam.

    Any Bank worth its fees won't email you like that, they'll send you a letter in the Snail Mail.

    If you do get an email pertaining from a Bank asking you to type in your details, forward it to your proper Bank's phishing department, eg [email protected]

  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,657 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 15
    I used to like to think people who fall for these scams are stupid but clearly if anyone has managed to save up a sum like £700,000 they are not a pair of fools (unless they inherited it or something). I am always thinking that it could happen to me one day so I try to always be vigilant and always suspect until I am 100% sure that something is safe.
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 3,866 Disability Gamechanger
    @66mustang it's easy to get caught out if  it's not happend to you before 

    My mum got fooled into giving her details  of her bank account over the  phone  but lucky for my mum my brother has control over my mums money and was alerted that my mum was doing a transaction and my brother froze her card  straight away 

    The person on the phone was trying to take alot of money out of her account 

    Thry prey on the vulnerable  and they are nasty uncaring  people 😒


  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 3,767 Disability Gamechanger
    The truth of the matter is that the internet is a magnet for scammers as its so easy, but scams and scammers have always been there just in other forms.

    There is so much publicity about not being fooled by scammers that you sometimes have to wonder how on earth people still fall for it?
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 3,866 Disability Gamechanger
    @woodbine my mum is 84 with dementia  thats why she lives with my brother now she let some one try her rings in and the girl ran off 

    She brought her neighbor a washing machine it was a worry thank goodness it doesn't happen now 
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