Shanea Strachan, (2020, Bahamas) one of our wonderful SMAs, talks us through her attitude to mental health, her tips for well-being and shares some pictures from her time in Bournemouth. Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 took place a few weeks ago. A week dedicated to focusing on mental health and well-being, this year’s theme […]
How to keep yourself safe and secure online
The internet is a great resource to learn and connect. There are, however, a minority that use it for cyber-crime, bullying, and harassment. We share our advice for keeping the Chevening community safe and secure online, as well as where to get support if things do go wrong.
Remember: once you’ve posted something online, you’ve lost control of it.
Since it’s possible for others to screenshot or share your posts, it can be extremely difficult to control who sees it once it’s been posted online.
To keep yourself safe online, try to avoid:
- Posting links to online groups that ‘anyone with the link’ can join
- Sharing sensitive or personal information
- Posting anything you wouldn’t want your university professor or future employer to see
Never give out private information to someone you’ve met online.
Connecting with people online can be a great way to network but bear in mind that people can trick you into trusting them online. Never give out personal information, even if you like or trust someone you’ve met online.
- 2021/2022 Chevening Scholars
- Where possible, use the official Chevening Facebook Scholar Group to find fellow Cheveners and keep yourself safe online. We only let 2021/2022 Chevening Scholars and Fellows access the group, all of whom agree to follow our strict code of conduct, so you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re talking to another member of our community!
- Chevening Alumni
- Chevening Connect is a great way to find and reminisce with fellow Cheveners, see what they’ve been up to and stay in touch. Find out more about Chevening Connect and join today.
Try to access the internet through secure networks.
Where possible, try to avoid accessing confidential documents or your online banking account from cafes, restaurants or any public Wi-Fi network. If it contains something you wouldn’t want a stranger to see, use the secure network at your university or home.
For extra peace of mind, look out for the padlock symbol in your browser’s address bar. It means the page you’re visiting is secure.
Create strong passwords for all your online accounts.
Strong passwords are 14 characters or more in length. The longer they are, the more likely your online accounts will stay secure. They should be a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using the same password for all your online accounts.
An easy way to create a strong password is to pick three, completely unrelated, random words and join them together. Then, mix uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters to make your password more complex.
Watch out for phishing and scams.
A phishing attack occurs when someone (a ‘hacker’) impersonates someone else to try and get you to reveal your password or to steal from you. Typically, you’ll receive an email that looks like it’s from your bank, a shop, or someone else you trust. A link takes you to a login page where they can capture your details.
Other ways hackers can try to trick you is by calling your phone and impersonating your bank. They can try to pressure you into making immediate payment or transfer of funds.
Although these situations can be daunting, try to remember the following general tips to keep yourself safe and secure online:
- Never click links from emails or messages that ask you to log in or share your details, even if you think they might be genuine.
- If you’re asked to log into a website, close the email and go to the app or site directly instead.
- If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from your bank, remember that they might not be telling the truth. Even if the number on your caller display looks like the phone number on your bank statement or the back of your debit card, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee it’s your bank calling.
- Tell the caller calmly that you’re going to hang up the phone and call them back. Wait an hour or so, and then call your bank directly to check whether what you’ve been told is true.
We hope this advice will keep you safe while online so that you can focus on making the most of your time in the UK. Remember though, that support is available if things do go wrong.
Ways to get support if things go wrong:
- Chevening Scholars are expected to abide by a strict code of conduct. We take allegations of bullying or harassment extremely seriously. If an incident does occur that involves someone within our community, we encourage you to report it via [email protected] as soon as possible.
- If an incident involves someone outside of the Chevening community, and you feel comfortable letting us know, please inform your Programme Officer. The safety and wellbeing of our scholars is really important to us, so we’ll do what we can to support you.
- If you’ve fallen victim to cyber-crime, make sure you delete any posts that may contain personal information and change your privacy settings on your social media accounts.
- You may also want to report the incident to Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime.
- Contact your university’s welfare or counselling support team if you need further support.
- If you ever feel like you’re in immediate danger during your time in the UK, please remember that the number for emergency services is 999.
Many of us are or have been struggling with the pressures of a master’s degree, including balancing course workload with meeting assignment deadlines, studying for exams, researching our dissertation, and extra-curricular activities, leading to feelings of anxiety, stress, and sometimes a loss of enthusiasm.
When things don’t go according to plan, we can be left feeling frustrated at best. At worst, it can seriously impact our confidence and self-esteem. What can we do when this happens?