Keep secure online
Information about keeping yourself and your children safe online.
On this page:
So much of our daily routine is now online. There's banking, shopping and social networking. Criminals are also going online to exploit people.
Police Scotland has a programme to help deliver Safer Virtual Communities. The education of online safety is part of our commitment to work with partners.
We also work with local policing divisions to protect members of the public online.
We raise awareness of online crimes and give advice on how to keep important information secure. We also help reduce the risk of people becoming victims.
To help keep yourself safe, here are a few golden rules to follow.
- Use a strong password or passphrase.
- Your password should be at least 12 characters long
- The password should contain a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols
- Never give personal or sensitive details out online or over email
- Make sure all devices have the latest anti-virus software and a firewall installed
- Keep software and apps regularly updated
- Only download from legal, trusted websites
- Only open emails and attachments from known and trusted sources
- Check the address starts with 'https://' whenever you’re asked to enter sensitive information online
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots that are not secure.
- Don't use if they ask you for personal information to access public Wi-Fi
- Regularly back up your data
- Control your social media accounts
- Regularly check your privacy settings and how your data is being used and shared
- Be cautious of internet chats and online dating - there’s no guarantee you’re speaking to who you think
- Be extremely cautious if you’re asked for money.
Visit Cyber Aware for step-by-step instructions on keeping your devices up to date. This includes security updates and online security advice.
Remember: If it’s illegal offline it is illegal online.
This includes posting anything that promotes crime, violence or drug misuse.
This includes threats made against you or forcing you to pay money. It also includes being forced to do something to prevent images or information being posted or shared.
This activity is often linked to footage taken using webcams, known as sextortion.
The following links on this page will provide up to date and relevant information.
They give advice around being safe online. It will also help you spot when things aren't right
Should you wish further advice then contact Police Scotland by dialling 101.
CEOP gives information on how to keep your child safe online. They let you know who can help. They also let you know where you can report inappropriate, illegal or indecent images involving children.
Find out how to report illegal website images and content on the IWF website.
For more information about how to use the internet safely visit Cyber Scotland.
It's an online resource for individuals and organisations (public, private, and third sectors). There's information and support about different cyber security and resilience issues.
Cyber Scotland is a partnership between Scottish Government, Police Scotland, NCSC, Scottish Business Resilience Centre, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, Scotland IS, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Young Scot, Skills Development Scotland and Education Scotland.
Stop It Now! UK and Ireland helps stop child sexual abuse
CEOP website for Internet Safety advice, help or how to make a report.
Thinkuknow helps children and young people keep themselves safe from sexual abuse and exploitation
Get Safe Online offers free expert personal and business advice.
Cyber Aware's aim is to make good cyber security habits second nature for individuals and small businesses
respectme is Scotland's anti-bullying service
Choices for Life for young people aged 11-18yrs
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre 'one stop shop' for business security and advice
Childnet International making the internet a safe place for children.
UK Safer Internet Centre promote the safe use of technology for young people.
Internet Matters a not-for-profit organisation that helps keep children safe in the digital world
No More Ransom with the goal to help victims of ransomware get their data back without having to pay
Keeping People Safe in the Digital World is Police Scotland's cyber strategy.
It makes sure our people have the right skills. It also makes sure we have the support to meet the demands of a future focused police service. The aims are:
- Making sure that Police Scotland is able to respond to different threats
- Working to prevent cybercrime by developing a public health approach and working with partners
- Making Scotland a hard place for cyber criminals to work. We have increased our visibility in the physical and virtual world
- Ensuring that we protect those at most risk of harm.
Lead Scotland: Lead Scotland have produced accessible formats of online security messages.
In both text and audio formats, the National Cyber Security Centre’s 6 actions to online security messaging has been translated into 6 languages.
These are Polish, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Punjabi, Urdu and Romanian.
The 6 actions have also been made into text formats. These include a structured text document (for use with assistive technology), HTML, braille, and large print.
The remaining formats will be released over the course of this new project and include Easy Read, British Sign Language and English audio.