Get Safe Online Day 2016

There are some free, quick and easy things we can do to stay safe online and avoid the pain of lost data and compromised systems.

A specially commissioned survey to mark Get Safe Online Day (18 October) reveals that a staggering £10.9 billion was lost to the UK economy as a result of fraud, including cybercrime, in 2015/16.

  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of people said their top concern was identity theft;
  • 43% of the UK public use the same password for multiple accounts;
  • One quarter of (25%) the UK public said that they had a limited understanding of the risks they face when going online, but nine in 10 (89%) said they were somewhat or very concerned about their online safety and security.

Victims of cybercrime 

The research found people in the UK have been targeted in a variety of ways:

  • 53% received fraudulent emails or messages;
  • 28% reported being contacted by someone who was trying to trick them into giving away personal information;
  • 10% had their email or social media accounts hacked. 


Ransomware is one of the fastest growing online crimes, affecting individuals, businesses and charities, with the UK one of the most affected countries in the world. Ransomware enables cybercriminals to remotely lock down files on a victim’s computer or mobile device and demand a fee to unlock them (even though they don’t always do so, even when the ransom is paid). Recent figures released by antivirus vendor Symantec reveal that cybercriminals are demanding an average of £514 from their victims. This comes as at least 90,000 devices were recently infected by a strain of ransomware called Locky, in just one day.

Protect against ransomware However, there are a series of simple things recommended by Get Safe Online that individuals and organisations can do to ensure that they don’t fall victim to ransomware. 

  • Don’t click on any links or attachments in emails you receive from an unsolicited sender, or even one that appears to come from someone you know, but seems irregular (somebody may have hacked or spoofed their email).
  • Install software updates as soon as you are prompted, as these often include fixes for security vulnerabilities. Do this for your operating system as well as any software programs and mobile apps.
  • Visit only websites you know to be reputable. - Install anti-virus software on your computer and mobile devices (including Apple), making sure to keep it updated.
  • Regularly back up your important files. You can do this by using an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider, but remember not to leave your backup device connected to your computer as the malware can then spread to there too.
  • If your computer has been locked by ransomware, you should contact your support provider or the retailer you purchased the device from, for assistance. 
  • If you become a victim of ransomware, report it to Action Fraud immediately.

Making online safety part your everyday routine 

This year’s Get Safe Online Day is encouraging everyone to start making every day safer by following a few simple steps:

  • Review the passwords you use on your online accounts: Make sure they’re strong enough and that you’re not using the same ones for more than one account. Consider how you’re going to remember them all – such as using an online password safe. 
  • Think about enabling two factor authentication for your email accounts. It requires both "something you know" (like a password) and "something you have" (like your mobile phone). 
  • Check your social media privacy settings. Make sure your information and updates are seen only by those you trust. 
  • Update your operating system and software programs/apps on your computer, mobile phone and tablet if you’ve been prompted to do so. It takes only a few minutes and with your mobile devices, you can even do it while you’re asleep. 
  • Back up your information – using the cloud is a great way to save all your documents, photos, music, emails and other irreplaceable files.
  • Check that your internet security software and apps are up to date and switched on.

Cyber Essentials Scheme 

The Government's Cyber Essentials is a government-backed, industry supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber attacks. The scheme sets out a security checklist for large and small organisations to better protect themselves. See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cyber-e...

The Information Commissioners Office also sets out guidelines designed for small businesses to keep their systems and data safe. Read more at ICO: A Practical Guide to IT Security: https://ico.org.uk/media/1575/it_security_practica...

Find out more You can find out more about Get Safe Online Day and staying safe online at: https://www.getsafeonline.org/

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