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At Ready Scotland we recognise the growing threat of cybercrime.

Yet it’s important to note that 80% of cybercrime can be prevented by simply getting the basics right. Follow our advice for greater peace of mind online.

Strong Passwords

  • Using three random words is great advice when creating a strong password e.g. SeeCatEek.

Downloading Software Updates

  • Software updates contain vital security upgrades which help protect your device from viruses and hackers. When asked to install them, always click yes.


  • Make sure you back up important information on a hard drive or a cloud-based service (but have a secure and unique password). Whether this is family photos, home finance records or your businesses’ customer data, you don’t want to lose it.

Install Software Security

  • Anti-virus software removes viruses, quarantines and repairs infected files, and can help prevent future viruses. Remember to use antivirus on your mobile devices too.

Suspicious Emails

  • Delete suspicious emails as they may contain fraudulent requests for information or links to viruses. If you’re being pressured to make a quick decision or to give any personal or financial information, DELETE THE EMAIL immediately.

You can also follow this advice from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on spotting a scam:

  • Authority - Is the message claiming to be from someone official? For example, your bank, doctor, a solicitor, or a government department. Criminals often pretend to be important people or organisations to trick you into doing what they want;
  • Urgency - Are you told you have a limited time to respond (such as 'within 24 hours' or 'immediately')? Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences;
  • Emotion - Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, make false claims of support, or tease you into wanting to find out more;
  • Scarcity - Is the message offering something in short supply, like concert tickets, money or a cure for medical conditions? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly;
  • Current events - Are you expecting to see a message like this? Criminals often exploit current news stories, big events or specific times of year (like tax reporting) to make their scam seem more relevant to you.

Protect Mobile Devices

  • Secure your portable devices and the information they contain. Establish a password, enable screen lock or auto lock on all devices and install an antivirus app.

During an Incident

  • If you think you’ve been the victim of a hack or cyber-attack, it’s best to check for the latest advice from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), who provide information on recent risks, as well as advice for individuals, families, and businesses.
  • You can report a crime to Police Scotland on 111


  • If your device has become infected with ransomware, you are encouraged not to pay the ransom. If you do pay:
    • There’s no guarantee you’ll regain access to your data/device;
    • Your computer will still be infected unless you complete extensive clean-up activities;
    • Attackers may assume that you would be open to paying further ransoms in the future;
    • You will be funding criminal groups.

More Information

Stay Informed

Ready Scotland regularly publishes alerts on both Twitter and Facebook. Follow and like our pages to keep up to date wherever you are.