5th December 2017
Mobile devices, game consoles and wearables make great presents …
If you are you are considering buying one this Christmas, the Police and Crime Commissioner has asked us to share the following message. In all the excitement, it can be easy to forget to make sure it’s set up and used safely and securely, so here is some expert, practical tips to help.
- Download an internet security app on mobile devices – including Apple – and ensure you keep it updated. There’s a wide choice available, some cover several devices, and some have advanced security features to reduce the impact of loss or theft.
- Download app updates when prompted, as they frequently contain security updates.
- Update operating systems when prompted, as this will also ensure you benefit from the latest online security.
- Download apps only from official sources such as App Store, Google Play or Microsoft Store.
- Protect all mobile devices with a PIN or password, even if they feature biometric protection.
- Keep devices secure and out of harm’s way, as the information on them – and accessed from them – could be worth a lot more than the device itself in the wrong hands.
- If you’ve bought a second-hand mobile device, remove the previous owner’s settings and data if this hasn’t already been done. If you’re selling, carry out a reset. Find out how by reading the manufacturer’s website. Ensure the device is running the most up-do-date version of the operating system and apps before using it.
- Change factory-set passwords to your own secure passwords as soon as you connect the device to your Wi-Fi.
- Never leave mobile devices or wearables unattended in vehicles, cafés, the gym or other public places. Take advantage of the safe in hotel rooms.
- Keep phones, tablets and wearables protected when out and about in crowded areas. They make attractive targets for pickpockets and ride-by thieves.
- Remember that clicking on email attachments or links in emails, text messages and social media posts could infect your device with malware, including ransomware and spyware. Think before you click.
- Back up all your devices regularly so that your data, photos and music will be protected in the case of theft, loss or damage.
- If the device is for a child or young person, sit down and speak to them about safe and responsible use of the internet, including what they say and who they communicate with.
You could also download a respected parental control app to block unsuitable content. And make sure that bills aren’t being run up for in-game purchases.
Please also ensure that you know which apps your children are using and who they are befriending online. The familiar ‘stranger danger’ message should also be applied when children are using communication devices, in order to protect them from harm. As recently as today, we had a headline news story about adults targeting children through streaming programmes or some apps that have in app purchases. You can read more online by clicking here. Think U Know have produced useful information for parents so you can find out how to help your child stay safe from abuse when streaming video and chatting online. You can find it on their website by clicking here. In a bid to raise awareness among children, a short animation - featuring a fictional abuser called Sam - is being launched by the NCA's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop). Released alongside the hashtag #WhoIsSam, the clip will show children and young people how offenders attempt to build exploitative virtual relationships. You can view it on Youtube by clicking here.