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What can you learn in 60 minutes?

How much can you learn about a person in 60-minutes through looking online? It depends greatly on how much of your life you live connected to the net as well as the steps taken to protect your information and identity. For example, recent statistics from Ipsos MORI show that only 35% of Britons are following the latest advice to use strong passwords made up of three random words.

A recent case study with Police Scotland involved a police officer seeing how much information could be gathered online in 60-minutes on one individual. The information found included:

  • the individual's workplace
  • home town
  • their home address and value
  • current and former telephone numbers
  • date of birth
  • social media accounts such as twitter
  • key family names and addresses
  • former family holiday locations

Much of this information could have been used to hack into and then take over email, bank or online shopping accounts.

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.

For more information on staying safe online visit the Keep Secure Online section on Police Scotland website.