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 Campaign December 2018 - Safe Connected Christmas

What does Christmas mean for you? Spending time with friends or family? Getting away from it all with a seasonal break? Pubbing or clubbing? Simply putting your feet up? Or maybe you’re working as usual?

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas, you will, more than likely, be regularly using a connected device. When you do, make sure you do it safely with help from the Get Safe Online experts...

Smartphones, Tablets & Computers - Before you start using new or pre-owned internet-connected devices – including Apple phones, tablets and computers – make sure they’re protected with a security app/software and a PIN or passcode. Upload updates to operating systems, apps and software as soon as prompted. Download apps only from official sources such as App Store, Google Play or Microsoft Store. Perform regular backups to safeguard your valuable documents, photos and other files.

Children & Young People - Make sure the ones in your life are safe this Christmas. Speak to them about safe and responsible use of the internet, including what they share, who they’re communicating with and what content they’re accessing – including apps and games. Consider downloading a respected parental control app to block unsuitable content. And make sure that bills aren’t being run up for in-game purchases.

Don’t overshare - It’s great to share good times on social media, but think before you post. Is it really necessary and could it provide confidential information for a fraudster? Posting that the family is out or away for a seasonal break is a big clue for burglars that your home is empty. Posting photos of your kids is creating or adding to their online presence. Take a few minutes during the Christmas break to update your privacy settings.

Connected Devices & Wearables - For new connected devices such as voice assistants, CCTV cameras, appliances or kids’ toys, change passwords the from factory-set ones to your own straight away to improve security. This goes for phones and tablets too.

Second-Hand Mobile Devices - If you’ve bought a pre-owned device, remove the previous owner’s settings and data if this hasn’t already been done. If you’re selling, carry out a reset to prevent others seeing your data. You can find out how to do so from the manufacturer’s website.

Out and about with Connected Devices - If you’re out socialising or staying at a hotel, don’t use public Wi-Fi hotspots if you’re doing anything confidential online as you can’t assume they’re secure. Keep the devices themselves secure as they can make attractive targets for thieves.

Scams - Christmas is a favourite time of year for fraudsters too. Clicking on email attachments or links in unexpected emails, text messages and posts could infect your device with malware and/or compromise your personal or financial security. Unexpected phone calls claiming to be from banks, retailers, parcel firms or software support companies should be treated with caution.

Find out more information on staying safe online this festive season.

You can also access Get Safe Online Resources

If you think you’ve been a victim of online fraud, report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre - or call 0300 123 20 40.

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!

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 visit the campaign page.

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 on offer for you and your business:

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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