Staying Safe Online

Supporting our communities to have safe digital lives.


The online world is an exciting place, full of information, products and services which the vast majority of us use without issue.

However, there are criminals who take advantage of the anonymity of the online world to deceive, hack and steal if the opportunity arises.

The good news is by following simple precautions, you can enjoy the opportunities being online has to offer.

Top Tips

Some important top tips to increase your online security:

Strong Passwords

A strong password is your first defence against hackers and cyber criminals.

To create a strong password simply choose three random words. Numbers and symbols can still be used if needed, however, using three random words is the key to creating a strong password. For example 2bluecakedog76!

Keep in mind cyber criminals are very smart and know many of the simple substitutions we use such as ‘Pa55word!” which utilises symbols to replace letters. 

Never use any word which is related to you and may be easy to guess, for example by looking at your social media pages.

Update your Software

What many people don’t realise is that software updates contain vital security upgrades which help keep your devices secure – they are not just there to improve performance.

Always download the latest software updates as soon as they are available

The majority of people don’t always download the latest software updates for their devices as soon as they are available to do so. 

The most common reason for this is that people feel it is too time consuming.

However, it only takes a few minutes to download software and app updates versus the time it can take to recover from a cyber hack.

For more information and advice please visit our Get Safe Online West Sussex Page or the National Cyber Aware webpage.

Watch the Think Before You Click short film produced by the Members of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner’s Youth and Elders’ Commissions.

This film aims to demonstrate the importance of following the two golden rules: creating a strong password and updating your software regularly.

Get Safe Online Campaigns

Get Safe Online Freshers Week Campaign - September 2018

Being at university or college is about studying hard and enjoying the experience. It’s also about taking more responsibility for yourself.

We’re not talking total adulting - but there are definitely things you need to do to keep yourself, your finances and your devices free from harm - online and offline - whether you’re studying, out having fun or relaxing.

Get Safe Online’s experts have put together some top tips to start you off:

  • Don’t ‘unlock’ your smartphone - Also known as Jailbreaking or rooting, ‘unlocking’ your smart phone turns off software restrictions placed by the manufacturer, allowing you to download and install apps which aren’t available through official app stores. This might seem like a good idea, but did you know you’re also opening your phone up to dodgy apps and malicious software that can infect your phone and damage or delete the data you have on it?
  • Protect your ID, and don’t overshare - The ability to provide ID is everything, and not just in a bar! Without it, you can’t open or access a bank account, sign-up for a railcard, student discount or other essentials. Never reveal log-ins or other passwords and don’t overshare online, in texts or on the phone. Don’t be tempted to provide confidential information on yourself or anyone else, in return for freebies. Check your credit score to make sure nobody has taken out credit or purchased anything in your name.
  • Look after your money - If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to open an account, directly, with a respected bank. It’s vital that you keep your banking and other financial details private. Most universities and colleges have a Student Money Adviser: talk to yours if you need advice on any other aspect of your finances.

Protect your reputation, and yourself:

  • What goes online stays online - This includes snaps and stories, as well as pics and posts, including those you might regret either immediately or in the future.
  • Research shows 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, so think about what you’re posting and how it might affect you in the future when you start job hunting.
  • Remember that online, not everyone is who they claim to be - Consider this if you’re talked into sharing intimate photos or videos. And for the same reason, remember that not every relationship lasts forever.
  • Accommodation - Found accommodation you like? Check it out in person before parting with any money, and make sure who you’re paying is authentic. If you can, pay deposits and other up-front payments by credit card for extra protection
  • Betting on a win? For some people, a bit of harmless betting can turn into a habit. If you’re tempted, think about how much money and time you could be throwing away and what else you could do with it. And sometimes, there’s a fine line between gaming and gambling … don’t cross it.
  • Be on the lookout for fraud - Fake texts, emails, calls and posts claiming to be from your bank, student loan provider or HMRC are rife for everybody - including students. If you’re an overseas student, you could be targeted by visa fraudsters too. Not thinking before you click – or oversharing confidential information – could cost you your money, your identity - or both.
  • Take care with your tech and how you connect - Your phone, tablet and laptop are essential to your life, so treat them like the precious possessions they are. If what you’re doing is confidential or financial, avoid using Wi-Fi hotspots: there’s no guarantee they’re secure. And turn off location services to keep your whereabouts to yourself.
  • Keep your coding legal - Heavyweight coders are sometimes targeted by cybercriminals who need their skills. If you get approached, think about the consequences to yourself and others.
  • Payments - If you pay a person or company you don’t know by bank transfer and it’s a fraud, there’s very little chance you’ll get your money back, so try to avoid this wherever possible.
  • Dating apps - If you’re dating online, use reputable apps and keep the conversation on the app. Remember that not everyone is who they say they are, and there’s nothing more important than your personal safety whether you’re dating or hooking up. Don’t be afraid to block or say no.
  • No means no - Never be put under pressure to do something you disagree with, or feel uncomfortable with, and don’t put others under pressure either. We’re talking sending or publishing intimate pics, harmful pranking, extreme content, hacking social media accounts or any kind of radicalisation.
  • Don’t become a money mule - Get rich quick schemes, jobs advertised with pay that’s too good to be true or trusting others with your bank account could result in a sentence and a criminal record. Be wary if approached.

Visit this link to find out more comprehensive, easy-to-follow advice about online safety or download the below leaflet.

Get Safe Online - Freshers Week 2018

Events and Training

We are regularly running online safety events and training sessions across the County and will keep this section up to date of everything that is happening so make sure to check back and see what’s new!

Scams Awareness and Online Fraud Event - Thursday 20 September 2018

This event is aimed at organisations working with vulnerable people to give them the knowledge to help prevent them from becoming victims of fraud. To find out more and to register, visit the event page.

Get Safe Online Event – Crawley Shopping Centre

On Saturday 1 December Get Safe Online will be at Crawley Shopping Centre supported by WSCC Community Safety & Wellbeing and Sussex Police. Experts will be on hand to give you practical advice to improve your online security and handing out free resources.

Stay Safe Sessions

A number of sessions will take place across the County through October 2018 – March 2019 for a range of audiences including Businesses, Parents and Carers, 50+ Generation, Professionals and Voluntary & Community Groups to attend.

With a focus on Online Safety, a range of professionals will lead the sessions delivering key advice about the challenges faced online - with support and input from trainers covering some specific issues such as exploitation and radicalisation.

To find out more please contact

Young People

Play your part and help make the internet become a safe and secure place for you and your friends to communicate.

We want to equip you with the knowledge and information you need to manage your online presence and spot the signs of friends who may be vulnerable and in danger.

Watch our video below and learn about real-life online dangers...

Be in control of your online profile

It’s never too late to adjust your account’s privacy settings and acting sooner rather than later could reduce the risk of having to block or delete a user in future.

Head to Your Space for tips on how to stay safe on social media, sexting advice and how to report someone’s online behaviour.

If you aren’t doing so already, learn about the key measures recommended to help maximise your online security. Click here for advice on choosing a password and managing software updates.

For more information and support head to Think You Know which aims to empower children and young people aged 5-17 to identify the risks they may face online and know where they can go for support.

Remember if you are ever worried or concerned about anything online talk to a trusted adult or call Childline 0800 1111, talk to a counsellor online, even send Childline an email or post on the message boards.

Parents and Carers

Supporting your child to navigate the online world and the challenges it can bring can seem pretty daunting at times.

The main thing you can do is to keep an open dialogue and talk about what they are doing. To help you do this there are some brilliant resources you can use and events happening across the County you may wish to participate in.

Stay Safe Sessions – A number of sessions will take place across the County through October 2018 – March 2019 for Parents and Carers to attend. Focusing on Online Safety, the NSPCC will lead the sessions, delivering key advice about the risks young people face online with support and input from trainers covering some specific issues such as exploitation and radicalisation - introducing practical ways to manage such risks and to help children safely enjoy the many benefits the internet has to offer.

Produced in partnership with the West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board, 'A guide to keeping your child safe online offers information and advice to parents & carers on factors that could help reduce the risk of being targeted by cyber criminals.

These include: online behaviour, content suitability, parental controls, online relationships and how to report an issue.

Watch our video below and learn how to set up parental controls...

Netaware - Set up by O2 & the NSPCC, Netaware is an excellent up to date guide about the social networks children use – it can also be downloaded as an app. 

You can also call their dedicated helpline whether you want to set up parental controls, adjust privacy settings or get advice on social networks. Experts from the O2 & NSPCC will help. Call 0808 8005002.

The NSPCC also have some great information about talking to young people about staying safe online.

Internet Matters has a great webpage about parental controls and some handy step by step guides.


Nearly half of all businesses (46%) reported a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport's Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017.

The impact of a cyber breach or attack can be huge with many potential consequences such as financial loss, time to resolve the problem, potential loss of customers, damage to your reputation and more.

What is important to keep in mind is that protecting your business from hackers and viruses does not have to take lots of work, time or money.

It is recommended first and foremost to follow our top tipcs to improve your online security. There is then a range of government approved advice and guidance you can follow to help better protect your business.

Take a look at these great resources and events on offer for you and your business:

Staying Safe Session for Businesses – This is for business large, small, independent, chain or franchise and is aimed at ensuring they can:

  • Identify key signs of grooming/radicalisation and exploitation,
  • Recognise how to stay safe online
  • Support others to stay safe online
  • Have an awareness of where to take concerns

This FREE event will be held at County Hall, Chichester on Monday 5 November 2018 from 6.45am until 8:00am. To find out more and to register, please contact

South East Cyber Business Event – Details coming shortly, to register your interest please contact

Cyber Essentials is a Government and industry-backed standard which protects your business against cyber threats.

Cyber Security: a guide for small businesses

This guide contains simple, practical advice on how to improve cyber security in your organisation quickly, easily and at low cost.

The guide contains five quick and easy steps which can save you time, money, protect your business’ reputation and significantly reduce the chances of your business becoming a victim of cyber-crime.

Protect your data

You are required by law to protect data you hold and process about your customers, suppliers and staff. Find out more about the Data Protection Act and get simple, practical advice on how to keep your customers, suppliers and employees’ personal information secure.

Train your staff

Free online cyber security training for staff managers and business owners

SEROCU offer Cyber Security training for Businesses – if you are interested contact via and we will put you in touch with them.

Government cyber security advice for businesses

Advice and Support

Cyber Aware

Cyber Aware (formerly Cyber Streetwise) aims to drive behaviour change amongst small businesses and individuals, so that they adopt simple secure online behaviours to help protect themselves from cyber criminals.

Get Safe Online

Get Safe Online is a joint initiative between the Government, the National Crime Agency, and public and private sector supporters from the world of technology, communication, retail and finance to raise awareness of internet security.


Visit your local library to pick up a Get Safe Online in West Sussex leaflet (or download one via our resources tab). Library staff will also be able to help by giving you information or sign posting you to advice and resources to help you stay safe online.

Sussex Police

Sussex Police is responsible for policing the county of Sussex in southern England, report crime and incidents here.

Cyber Challenge UK

Cyber Security Challenge UK is a series of national competitions, learning programmes, and networking initiatives designed to identify, inspire and enable more people to become cyber security professionals.

Age UK West Sussex

Age UK offer activities in their centres across the county with some ‘Teach and Tech’ sessions run offering information and advice about tablets, phones and laptops.

O2 store experts

Did you know you can book an appointment with an NSPCC-trained O2 Guru? Bring your devices with you and they'll be happy to answer your questions and set up your devices with parental controls. It's so simple!


Where to get help and support?

Have you or your business been a victim of cybercrime? Report it to Action Fraud via

If you suspect that a child or young person has been, or is being, groomed or exploited this must be shared with one of the agencies below:

Police: 101 or in an emergency 999

West Sussex Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH): 01403 229900

For advice and support call the NSPCC Online Safety helpline: 08088 005002

Get in touch with WSCC for more information using the contact detals below:


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