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We all spend an increasing portion of our time online, whether this is part our employment, studies or personal life.
We all need to take responsibility for our own "Digital safety". It is important to recognise that our behaviour may leave us open to threats to our reputation, privacy, finances or general wellbeing.
There are a number of simple things we can all do to protect ourselves while online.
The following are our top six tips to ensure your digital safety.
1. Create strong passwords
Passwords are one of the most important lines of defense you have in protecting yourself online from hackers and fraudsters. Unfortunately many of us do not use strong passwords, we sacrifice our safety for the ease and convenience of something that is easy for us to remember, often using the same passwords for multiple applications and websites.
3. Regularly back up data
It is impossible to anticipate when a device might break or be lost or stolen so it is important for you to always keep a backup of any important documents. There are two main types of documents you need to backup,
4. Protect your mobile devices
Protecting your mobile or tablet device is essential as they do as much traveling around as you do and tend to house lots of your important personal data. Here are some important areas to be be aware of.
5. Be vigilant for phishing emails
Phising is a term to describe a bogus email sent to you from a criminal that pretends to be from another organisation (usually banks, shops, government department etc.) in order to trick you into give them your personal details. These can be very sophisticated and convincing, often the use the same company logos and simliar email addresses. Here is our advice for spotting a phising email.
Can you spot when you're being phished? Identifying phishing can be harder than you think. This quiz takes you through things to be aware of regarding phishing scams.
It is important to consider your "digital footprint".
Your digital footprint is about the traces you leave online. It includes everything on the internet that is about you, for example:
- profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn
- photographs that you or others have posted online
- anything that has been written about you, e.g. on discussion boards or blogs. (OU, 2020).
Future employers can now fully research you and your past by simply reviewing your online presence.
The following short video gives our guide to using social media safely to protect your digital footprint.
Digital and information literacy framework, Copyright © 2012 The Open University, http://www.open.ac.uk/libraryservices/subsites/dilframework/. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
We are all required to engage in the online world in some way, whether that is in our studies or in our personal lives. It is important to think about how we act and portray ourselves in these public environments, this is where the idea of digital citizenship comes in.
A ‘digital citizen’ is a person who has developed the skills and knowledge to effectively use the internet and digital technologies, who uses digital technologies and the internet in a responsible and appropriate way in order to engage and participate in society and politics. (Jisc, 2020).
Netiquette (net etiquette) is the rules of good online behaviour. Although online communication is similar to face-to-face conversation, there are important differences too. Ensure your online communication is clear, respectful and courteous.
The central message is: Be nice to each other, stay on topic and do the best you can.
This helpful video from Swinburne University of Technology introduces the main ideas associated with netiquette
The Microsoft Digital Civility Challenge gives four simple rules for you to keep in mind.
More information can be found here: