Remember you can’t delete anything

One thing that young people seem increasingly unaware of is that it is very difficult to delete anything from the Internet. This means that anything that is posted to a blog, chatroom or social networking space is archived somewhere and even if it is deleted it normally still exists in the hidden web.

As search engines such as Google become more powerful the hidden web is starting to become more penetrable and throw up all sorts of things from peoples’ pasts. Considering that more and more people are now Googling employees before offering them a job, this is something that young people need to be aware of as inappropriate use at a young age could seriously effect their career prospects later in life.

Don’t believe that it’s hard to delete anything from the Internet? Have a look at the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive that stores old websites. You might be quite surprised.

Protecting your Home Computer

Check your PC is up to date

The software your computer operates on already has some in-built protection. The operating system that is installed on most computers is Microsoft’s Windows, you’ll know if you’ve got this, as it’ll say Microsoft when you first turn the computer on.

Crackers (the name for evil hackers) and fraudsters often try to break through this software to exploit weaknesses and Microsoft is permanently upgrading its software to prevent them in a cat and mouse game.

Ensure you’re getting updates

Microsoft regularly sends out free security updates via the internet and it’s important to ensure you’re getting these. They’re available from Microsoft’s website or you can set your computer to download them automatically; just go your computer’s Control Panel and then the System file where you should see the Automatic Updates section.

And remember…..turn your PC off!

Another easy tip to reduce the risk of crackers accessing your PC is to disconnect from the internet or, even better, turn it off when it’s not in use, saving energy. While your PC’s on and after you’ve been browsing is a prime time for crackers to attack.

Free anti-virus & firewall software

Threats to your PC come in all shapes and sizes within vivid names such as viruses, trojans and worms. Collectively they’re known as malware (malicious software) and the impact can include recording the sites you visit, crashing your computer, hacking your bank details and stealing your identity. It’s critical that you ensure your computer is safe.

Free anti-virus protection

Not all computer viruses are made by spotty teenagers in empty, pizza box filled dark bedrooms, trying to break your computer for sport and infamy. It’s equally possible they’re created by hi-tech, organised crime, hot-houses aiming to steal your cash, identity or information. Yet while we talk about viruses, actually they break down into three types:

  • These are transmitted via websites, as an attachment in e-mails, directly over the internet, or on disks or other removable media. They hide in applications or files and spread from computer to computer. There are many kinds; some serious, some contagious and some that remain dormant:
  • Trojan (horses) are hidden within a file that looks harmless, like a picture of a celebrity, aiming to trick the user into opening installing the malicious software like spy-ware or ad-ware on the computer.
  • Worms take advantage of any open Internet connection, to try and sneak in and replicate on the computer. Once loaded, they often start to send spam from your computer without your knowledge.

How to stop them?

Quite simply, never open any e-mail attachment if you don’t know the sender or aren’t expecting a file; and ensure you have, updated anti-virus software. This should always be active when your computer is on, its job is to recognise current viruses, as well as older ones, and reverse any damage.

It’s crucial that you regularly download updates for anti-virus software, so it can protect you from any new bugs. Unfortunately anti-virus software can slow your computer down, but frankly that’s simlpy a price you must pay.

The Free Software

Pay for anti-virus software from the biggies Symantec/Norton or Mcafee and it’ll cost roughly

About CEOP

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is a UK police agency with a difference. It has the teeth of any other police force and works to track offenders wherever they may be. CEOP also delivers free education programmes into schools to help children of all ages stay safe online and is active in sharing best practice techniques with the wider child protection community through a number of training initiatives. The CEOP Education Training Programme is called Think U Know.

The CEOP Corporate Film is embedded below (You Tube):

The Think You Know website allows you to find the latest information on the sites you like to visit, mobile phones and new technology. You can find out what’s good, what’s not and what you can do about it.

If you look after young people there’s an area for you too – with resources you can use in the classroom, at home or just to get with it. Most importantly, there’s also a place which anyone can use to report if they feel uncomfortable or worried about someone they are chatting to online.

The Think You Know Secondary Schools Training programme is in place in many of the East Lothian Secondary Schools. One of the films used in this training programme is embedded below (You Tube):

CEOP is a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT). The VGT is made up of law enforcement agencies from around the world working together to fight child abuse online. The aim of the VGT is to build an effective, international partnership of law enforcement agencies that helps to protect children from online child abuse.

The objectives of the VGT are:

  • to make the Internet a safer place;
  • to identify, locate and help children at risk; and
  • to hold perpetrators appropriately to account.

The VGT is made up of the Australian Federal Police, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK, the Italian Postal and Communication Police Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the US Department of Homeland Security and Interpol. Jim Gamble, the Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre is the Chair of the VGT.

The VGT delivers low-cost, high impact initiatives that prevent and deter paedophiles from exploiting children online.

Below is the television commercial produced by the VGT to support Safer Internet Day. (You Tube video embedded below)

Mobile Phones and The Law

Some young people don’t seem to have a clue and it’s important that we get across the idea of Responsible Use for mobile technology.

The main law that relates to the inappropriate use of mobile phone cameras (or any camera) is the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, 1982. Under Section 52(1) of this act, any person who:
(a) takes, or permits to be taken or makes, any indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child under 18 years;

(b) distributes or shows such an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph;

(c) has in his possession such an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph with a view to its being distributed or shown by himself or others; or

(d) publishes or causes to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that the advertiser distributes or shows such an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph, or intends to do so,

shall be guilty of an offence under this section.

Section 52A of the Act is also important as it relates to the Possession of Photographs, Section 52A states:

(1) It is an offence for a person to have any indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child under the age of 18 years in his possession.

Let me now focus on some terminology as people often become confused by this in the media.