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Online Safety & Security

In this section we will look at Online Security, Online Safety, Radicalisation and Extremism

Online Security

Thanks to the Internet we all now have a wealth of information that can enrich our lives in new and wondrous ways as we are able to access more information than any generation before. Yet, the Internet can also be open to harm, too often we read about another company falling victim to a cyber-attack, or a friend’s email or social network account being hacked. The internet is a powerful and useful tool, but in the same way that you shouldn’t drive without buckling your seat belt or ride a bike without a helmet, you shouldn’t venture online without taking some basic precautions.

Protecting your computer

There are a few simple steps you can take to protect your computer.

Install security software (e.g. anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall)

  • Anti-virus software will look for and remove viruses before they can infect your computer.
  • Anti-spyware software prevents unwanted adverts from popping up, tracking your activities or scanning your computer for personal information.

The best option for beginners is to buy a ‘package’ from a reputable provider (such as McAfee or Norton) which will include a range of security software. You can download these programs from the internet or visit a retail computer store for guidance.

Your internet service provider might also offer security software as part of your internet deal. There are also popular free security software programs available to download online, such as AVG, Avast and Microsoft Security Essentials.

Keeping your computer updated

Every computer has an operating system (such as Windows or Mac) which is software that organises and controls all hardware and programs.

Your computer can be better protected from viruses if you keep the operating system updated. You should receive notifications when new updates are available, but you can also update your system manually.

Protecting your wireless network

If you have a wireless router, check that your wireless network is secure so that people living nearby can’t access it. It is best to set up your network so that only people with a wireless ‘key’ (i.e. password) can connect to your network.

If your network is secured by a password, users will be prompted for a password when they try to access the network for the first time and there should be a padlock symbol next to your wireless network. If this doesn’t happen, your network isn’t protected and anyone can connect to your network.