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Staying Safe Online

While some of us have always had a good grasp of how to use technology, for a lot of people, the pandemic was a turning point and inspired them to get online and see what all the fuss is about. It may have felt daunting at first, but over time we’ve become more confident online, and it’s opened opportunities that we might have otherwise missed!

Across the Highlands, many people (including Let’s Get On With It Together members) have been using digital technology to stay connected to our friends and families at a time where we haven’t been able to see each other in person. Doing tai chi in your kitchen has never been more popular!

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Using digital technology has helped us in different ways during lockdown. 39% of LGOWIT members said that they use the internet more since the coronavirus outbreak.

Staying connected – not only through tai chi sessions on Teams but also in sending and receiving emails, using social media and keeping up to date with latest news, about the pandemic and more.

Managing our Health - More people are able to order their prescriptions online, and monitor their health using digital technologies

Online shopping - More people have started online shopping, and with shops closed and more confidence on the computer, you can see why!

But we have to be careful about how we use the internet

During the pandemic, computer misuse offenses (cyber attacks) have increased by 85% in 2020/21, compared with the two years prior. A total of 1.8 million incidents are estimated to have occurred.

One of the most common types of cyber attacks, is phishing.


Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information to the attacker. This allows them to take actions that can damage your computer using programmes that are called viruses or ransomware.


Dodgy looking emails or texts are a common example of phishing you might see. Here are some of the signs...

Look out for signs that an email or text is phishing

Phishing email.PNG

If you've recieved an email that looks like this, you would probably get quite excited. But before you start celebrating your big win, make sure you take a good look at an email or text before clicking on any links. Sadly, in most cases, it’s too good to be true and someone is trying to attack you.

Often look legitimate – Scammers can be very convincing, and people are often tricked by their very accurate imitations of legitimate emails

Check for spelling mistakes – If it looks like it’s from a massive global company, but is littered with spelling errors, that is a sign that the email might not be from who it says it is. Large companies are likely to check everything multiple times, and would want to avoid including spellings mistakes in their communications. Hackers aren’t so bothered.

Strange looking links – Hover over links and look at what pops up, if the link doesn’t match the source, don’t click on it.

Urgency – Keep an eye out for a general sense of urgency and threat in the message. Scammers often try to threaten and panic you into giving away personal data.

Look at who sent it – It’s important to look at who sent the emails, often scammers take advantage by masquerading as trusted companies or people. (Watch the animation above for more information on this)

Make sure that you always report suspicious emails/texts. If you did click on the link, you don’t have to set your laptop on fire, but you should…

Stop talking to them

Block them

Report them

Change login details if you provided any

Make sure it doesn’t happen again

How else can I protect myself online?


Use passphrases instead of passwords. Look around the room for three random objects, the more obscure the better. After that, it’s always a good idea to swap out some letters for numbers, for an extra layer of security.

For example, you might be sitting on a chair eating toast, whilst watching your favourite soap.

ChairToastSoap > Cha1rT0astSoap (if you swap a few letters for numbers, you password will be much more secure.

Make sure you use different passphrases for different accounts. Having the same password for everything makes you more exposed to attacks.


It’s important that you perform regular system updates for your devices. Outdated apps are an open goal to hackers, and the updates will include fixes for newly discovered vulnerabilities.


Free Wifi

It’s also important to make sure you are safe when out and about. Trains, cafes and shops all offer free public wi-fi, but be careful because cybercriminals are often lurking on public wifi, stealing data that is transferred while connected. Hackers can use this to access bank details, password and any valuable information they can get their hands on.

You can prevent this from happening by asking someone who works at the location for information on how to access the wifi safely.


A lot of people don’t have any privacy settings on their social media accounts, this means that any personal information posted could end up in the hands of hackers. Limiting who can see your posts to only your friends means you can safely post whatever you like.

There are lots of different guides which tell you how to do this on YouTube. Check out the 'How To' guides page for tips on how to use YouTube.

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