Internet safety at home

The UK Government is working to make the UK the safest place to be online, developing safer internet communities and empowering citizens to manage risks.  Find tips below to help you protect yourself, your family and your devices from cyber criminals.

A range of support is available to tackle cyber crime and empower individuals to protect themselves from threats online, this includes:

Tips for staying safe online

You can get practical tips and advice on protecting yourself, your family and your devices, including:

The video below explores how easy it is for anyone to become a victim of cyber crime.

Four simple steps to protect against cyber criminals

Internet safety at home is important for protecting you and your family.  Here are four simple steps you can take to keep your devices secure and personal data protected.

1. Install the latest software and app updates

Cyber criminals use weaknesses in software and apps to attack your devices and steal your identity.  Software and app updates are designed to fix these weaknesses and installing them as soon as possible will keep your devices secure.   You’ll often receive a prompt on your computer, smartphone or tablet to inform you that a software or app is ready to be updated.  Don’t ignore this message.

Find out how to update some commonly used devices.

2. Use a strong, separate password for your email

Cyber criminals can use your email to access many of your personal accounts and find out vital personal information, such as your bank details, address or date of birth.  Having a strong, separate password for your email means that if cyber criminals steal the password for one of your less important accounts, they can’t use it to access your email account.

Get tips on making a strong password.

3. Take care where you share your personal information

Beware of suspicious emails and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.  An email address can be faked.  So even if an email appears to be from someone or a company you know, if the message is unexpected or unusual, contact the sender directly via another method and check that they have sent it to you.

Always check that the website address of the site you are using is correct. Cyber criminals can create fake website addresses which look very similar to the real website address, such as misspelling the name of the company.

4. Always back-up your most important data

Safeguard your most important data, such as your photos and key documents, by backing them up to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system.   If your device is infected by a virus, malicious software (malware) or accessed by a cyber criminal your data may be damaged, deleted or held to ransom by ransomware preventing you from accessing it.

Backing up your data means you have another copy of it, which you can always access.  Make sure that the external hard drive you are using to back-up your data is not permanently connected to the device you are backing up either physically or over a local network connection.

Get more internet safety tips - external link

UK Internet Safety Strategy

The UK Government’s Internet Safety Strategy marks an important step towards developing a coordinated approach to online safety for everyone.

The strategy will address online safety by bringing together groups across society – including the voluntary sector, technology firms, schools, and people across the UK – to establish a coordinated approach.

We recognise that no technology can be inherently good or bad and we acknowledge the value of a free and open internet that protects freedom of expression and the platforms that promote it.

We believe that in order to improve online safety, the UK Government will need to harness the technical understanding and expertise of industry partners if we are to deliver thriving, safe and innovative online platforms.

More information

Find out about cyber security advice for businesses.

Find out more about UK Government support at home.