Keeping Safe Online - (reviewed 2023)

18 Jun 2024

This is based on an 8 March 2022 presentation by cybersecurity expert, Gerry Grant, who spoke to the Guild and guests about how to keep safe online. Here are some of Gerry’s top tips:

Phishing emails

Some are very obvious – the email saying you have inherited $2million dollars; others impersonate a well-known organisation such as Netflix or Amazon; and some fakes are very good. What to look out for:

  • Hi, but your name is not included
  • An instruction to act now
  • A strange email address – hover over the email address and right-click to see whether it is genuine or not
  • A link to a website – don’t click! Instead, open your browser and search for the company’s website there
  • Be cautious and think twice – there is no urgency and if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t right
  • Forward the email to who investigate and catch scammers

Phishing texts

  • These impersonate organisations such as Argos, HMRC
  • They are often topical, eg Covid-related and there is likely to be a spate purporting to be Ukraine charities
  • Be cautious and think twice – there is no urgency and if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t right
  • Forward the text to 7726 for free – the National Cyber Security Centre investigate and catch scammers


  • The longer the better – minimum 12 characters
  • 3 random words together – easier to remember and easier than a 12-letter word, eg Boatfoodsing
  • The space bar is your friend  – it is a separate character
  • Ensure that key accounts have unique passwords - password for your email and for your bank account
  • It’s okay to keep your passwords in a notebook  – but not beside your laptop – keep hidden
  • Use a password manager

Other security measures

  • Turn on two-factor authentication – used in eg online banking – requiring a password and code
  • Always do security updates on your devices as these fix security holes
  • Mobile device pin-code should be at least 6 digits


  • Phishing emails are blanket attacks, not aimed at you specifically but sent to many thousands of people

2022: reviewed 2023

  • If you get a phone call from a suspicious caller, it’s okay to hang up!
  • Be vigilant – stop and think before responding – there’s no rush
  • These are professional criminals and we can all get caught out, so don’t be embarrassed and let someone know if it’s happened so that action can be taken