Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

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Become Cyber Aware

The Government’s Cyber Aware campaign, which follows advice and technical expertise from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, offers the following simple advice to help you to improve your online security.

 The key behaviours to help you improve your online security are:

Install the latest software and app updates
  1. They contain vital security updates which help protect your device from viruses and hackers
  2. Security updates are designed to fix weaknesses in software and apps which could be used by hackers to attack your device. Installing them as soon as possible helps to keep your device secure
  3. You can choose to install updates at night when you are asleep and your device is plugged in or set your mobile or tablet to automatically update your apps when you are connected to Wi-Fi and an update is available
  4. You can also set laptops and desktops to automatically install software updates when an update is available

Use Strong and Separate Passwords

  1. Use a strong, separate password for your email account (you can use three random words or numbers to create a strong password)
  2. Hackers can use your email to access many of your personal accounts, by asking for your password to be reset, and to find out personal information, such as your bank details, address or date of birth, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft or fraud
  3. Having strong, separate passwords for your most important accounts means that if hackers steal your password for one of your less important accounts, they can’t use it to access your most important ones
  4. Make sure your password is easy for you to remember, but not easy for others to guess e.g. Pa55word may follow the rules of using letters and symbols but is well known amongst hackers as a common password
  5. Don’t use words which would be easy to discover from your social media accounts, such as your child’s name or favourite sports team
More Tips to Keep you Secure Online
  1. Secure your tablet or smartphone with a screen lock
  2. Give your device an extra layer of security by setting it to lock when you aren’t using it
  3. Screen locks provide an extra layer of security to your device, as each time you want to unlock it or turn it on, you will need to enter a PIN, pattern, password or fingerprint
    This means if someone gets hold of your device they can’t access the data on your device without entering your password, pattern, PIN or fingerprint
  4. Always back-up your most important data
  5. 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
  6. If your device is infected by a virus or accessed by a hacker, your data may be damaged or deleted, which means you won’t be able to access it. Backing up your data means you have another copy of it, which you can access
  1. Remember that spammers could also gain access to a friend’s account, so if you get an uncharacteristic email containing a link from a friend, do not click on it but find another way of contacting them to check that the message is genuine.
  2. Leave a website if you feel suspicious – if the site doesn’t look or ‘feel’ right, if there is text that doesn’t appear to have any purpose or doesn’t tie in with the rest of the site, or if you feel uneasy for any reason.
  3. Regularly check your social media privacy settings to control exactly what you’re sharing with whom.
  4. If you’re going away on holiday, don’t advertise it on social media!
  5. If you use a wireless network at home, password-protect it.

These simple steps can go a long way to helping you to stay secure online. For more information visit https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk

Secure Email Accounts

Email accounts contain more than just your emails.

Email accounts contain a wealth of sensitive information. Criminals can use your email to reset passwords or obtain personal and financial information, such as your bank details, full address or DOB, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.

Secure your email account with two simple steps…

Use a strong, separate password  

Enable two-factor authentication

Children's Online Safety

The NSPCC has an excellent four step plan to help children stay safe online. The steps are formed from the idea of families working as a TEAM

The steps are: 

  • Talk About staying safe online
  • Explore their online world together
  • Agree  rules about what's ok and what's not.
  • Manage your family's settings and controls

To visit the NSPCC Share Aware site click here

To visit the NSPCC Online Safety Site for more advice on keeping children safe online click here

To visit the NSPCC guide to the social networks children use click here

Ransomware Advice

What is Ransomware?

It is a form of malicious software (Malware) that enables cyber criminals to remotely lock down files on your computer or mobile device. Criminals will use ransomware to extort money from you (a ransom), before they restore access to your files. There are many ways that ransomware can infect your device, whether it be a link to a malicious website in an unsolicited email, or through a security vulnerability in a piece of software you use. This ransomware does not discriminate between businesses and individual users so everyone should read the below advice:

Key Protect advice for individuals to protect themselves from ransomware:

  • Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available.
  • Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to a device (such as an external hard drive or memory stick) that isn’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
  • Only install apps from official app stores, such as Google’s Play Store, or Apple’s App Store as they offer better levels of protection than some 3rd party stores. Jailbreaking, rooting, or disabling any of the default security features of your device will make it more susceptible to malware infections.

Key Protect messages for businesses to protect themselves from ransomware:

  • Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available.
  • Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to a device that isn’t left connected to your network as any malware infection could spread to that too.

  There are some direct advice links below for:

  • The Home User
  • The Enterprise User
  • General advice from the NCA.

The advice can also be found by going directly to the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) or Microsoft’s site.

Microsoft have advised their customers that “This ransomware can stop you from using your PC or accessing your data. Unlike other ransomware, however, this threat has worm capabilities.” and

“The exploit code used by this threat to spread to other computers was designed to work only against unpatched Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (or earlier OS) systems. The exploit does not affect Windows 10 PCs.”


  • Understand the technical estate (network) that you are responsible for, and patch all software on all systems within. Microsoft have also now released a patch for legacy Windows XP systems relevant to this malware.
  • NCSC have also released additional defence steps relevant to the enterprise network defender.
  • Use Anti-Virus software at all times and ensure that it too is updated.
  • Backup your system or critical data to a storage device that is not within the same network. Consider cloud storage options where suitable.
  • If you believe that you have been a victim of a ransomware attack, report it to your Local Police and in turn Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/.

Master Level Guidance for use as reference:

The National Cyber Security Centre’s technical guidance includes specific

software patches to use that will prevent uninfected computers on your

network from becoming infected with the “WannaCry” Ransomware

Important information from Industry Partners to be used as reference:

·       Also from MS who have published a relevant patch for XP: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/msrc/2017/05/12/customer-guidance-for-wannacrypt-attacks/


Fraudsters may also attempt to exploit this high profile incident and use it as part of phishing/smishing campaigns. We urge people to be cautious if they receive any unsolicited communications from the NHS. The protect advice for that is the following:

  • An email address can be spoofed (faked). Don’t open attachments or click on the links within any unsolicited emails you receive, and never respond to emails that ask for your personal or financial details. 
  • The sender’s name and number in a text message can be spoofed, so even if the message appears to be from an organisation you know of, you should still exercise caution, particularly if the texts are asking you to click on a link or call a number.

Don’t disclose your personal or financial details during a cold call, and remember that the police and banks will never ring you and ask you to verify your PIN, withdraw your cash, or transfer your money to another “safe” account.




This is the home page of the Meerkats.Why did we choose the Meerkat? The Meerkat belongs to the mongoose family. It is famous for standing upright looking out for eagles and hawks that might attack their community.

Meerkats Logo Small

A Meerkat is always careful.

Meerkats work together to keep themselves safe. When a deadly puff adder attacked a burrow the meerkats helped each other and carried all their babies to safety.

 When they want to be safe, meerkats go to their burrow.

 Like the meerkat you can learn to be watchful and help to keep yourself safe. Meerkats teach us not to let our guard down and work together to keep our community safe from dangers.

We do not live in the wild, but we do have to know about the world around us because sometimes other people, or things we do, can be unsafe. 

The Meerkat pages will help you to find out how you can help yourself and your friends to stay safe.