Protect yourself and your new devices from cyber-crime this festive season

29 December 2016
Whether you have got a new gadget for Christmas or you are taking part in the festive sales, Dorset Police is reminding you to stay safe online as part of this year’s Christmas campaign.

There are many opportunities offered by the internet, particularly the growth in online shopping and banking, which make us vulnerable to crime.

The festive period is traditionally the busiest time of the year for shopping and unfortunately, there are those who are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities.

Online safety should not be taken for granted or assumed. Determined criminals are known to target insecure forms of online activity. Residents of Dorset are encouraged to take simple precautions to protect their information when using the internet throughout the festive period.

The Dorset Police Cyber-Crime Unit is focused on ensuring that the Force provides a quality response to all forms of online crime in Dorset.

Below are a few tips to stay cyber safe this festive season.

 1. Check your passwords are secure. Make your passwords as long and complex as you can and don’t use the same one on every website.

2. Keep your devices updated – especially the new devices you get for Christmas. Don’t put off running your security updates because you are in the middle of something. Do it when you are prompted to ensure your device security is up to date.

3. Back up your files. That way if your files are lost, stolen, reconfigured, or held by ransomware, you can still get your data back.

4. Look for the padlock in the URL bar when shopping online. A padlock in the address bar and a URL that starts with 'HTTPS' indicates that the website uses an encrypted or secure connection. All major websites, not just financial institutions, use HTTPS these days, so if you see a site that’s asking for personal information but doesn’t have the padlock, do not trust it.

5. Watch out for bogus courier emails. At Christmas time, you may well be getting items delivered to your home, so you’ll be expecting a visit from a courier company. Watch out for fake emails about bogus delivery problems. Never give out details unless you are sure of the company.

More information about staying safe online can be found on the Dorset Police website,

Dorset Police Cyber-Crime Prevention Officer, Jake Moore, said: “Enjoy your new gadgets this Christmas but please make sure you keep them safe. The ‘boring bits’ like loading anti-virus software and setting up strong passwords are the things that will keep your new devices secure.

“Work with your children to make sure their new devices are set up securely, they are using them safely online, and know how to spot issues or dangers online.

“If you are shopping online in the Christmas sales please do all you can to make sure you are using an authentic website. Check payment pages are secure and always pay on a credit card if you can – it offers you another level of protection.”

Follow Dorset Police’s Christmas campaign on social media and together, let’s get Christmas safety #AllWrappedUp.

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