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The internet is part of all of our lives. We use it to stay connected with friends and family, for information, enjoyment and play. It offers incredible opportunities but no one is immune to cyber risks and being constantly connected brings increased threats of fraud and abuse.

As individuals, our finances, identity and privacy can be at threat from online attacks, and as a nation Scotland faces cyber threats to business, infrastructure and economy.

A survey by Get Safe Online revealed that 69 per cent of Scottish adults had been targeted by cyber criminals in the last 12 months (October 2015 to October 2016).

  • 46 per cent received fraudulent emails or messages which have attempted to direct them to websites where their personal information could have been stolen, including bank details, user names and passwords
  • 30 per cent reported being contacted by someone who was trying to trick them into giving away personal information
  • 12 per cent had their email or social media accounts hacked
  • 2 per cent had been victims of ransomware, a fast-growing online crime

How to reduce your risk of cybercrime

Around 80% of cybercrime can be prevented by simply getting the basics right. Every person and business in Scotland will benefit from:

Strong passwords

Using three random words is the key to creating a strong password e.g. SeeCatEek

Downloading software updates

Software updates contain vital security upgrades which help protect your device from viruses and hackers. You will be asked to install them – always click yes! 

Installing software security

Anti-virus software removes viruses, quarantines and repairs infected files, and can help prevent future viruses.  Remember to use antivirus on your mobile devices too.

Be aware of suspicious emails

Delete suspicious emails as they may contain fraudulent requests for information or links to viruses. If you are being pressured to make a quick decision or to give any personal or financial information DELETE THE EMAIL immediately.

Protect and secure mobile devices

Secure your portable devices and the information they contain. Establish a password and enable screen lock or auto lock on all devices and install an antivirus app.

Secure wireless networks

Secure your home or office wireless networks and think carefully before sharing  private details on public wifi.


Firewalls act as protective barriers between computers and the internet.  Check your security settings for a built-in personal firewall. If you have one, turn it on.

Where to go for more information:
• Get Safe Online provides practical advice on how to protect yourself and your business against a variety of threats you may encounter online.
• The UK Safer Internet Centre, gives you tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe on the internet.

What you do online has the potential to affect everyone - at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.