Thing 6: Digital security

Completing this thing will give you the opportunity to consider digital security which is relevant for both your personal and professional life.

Open Badge Information

Open Badge: SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 6: Digital Security


Understanding what data is stored, protected, used and shared by various applications and devices, and how this happens, helps people to take active steps to improving digital security.


a) Passwords

Most of us know it is frustrating to manage multiple usernames and passwords for a variety of websites, networks and devices. It is good practice to avoid using the same passwords across multiple platforms because if any one password is compromised, your data on other systems is put at risk.

Splashdata release an annual Worst Passwords List which highlights some of the most common user passwords identified in data leaks. In 2017, the worst passwords were ‘123456’, ‘password’, ‘123435678’ and ‘qwerty’.

If any of your passwords are along these lines, we strongly recommend changing them. A useful online tool How Secure Is My Password gives you an idea of how long it would take a computer to crack your password.

Here are some ideas to help you boost your password security.

Use three random words to create a strong password

The UK Government’s CyberAware campaign recommends that you create a strong and memorable password by using three random words, such as redhousemonkeys

You can use numbers and symbols if you need to, for example: 3redhousemonkeys27!

You should use words memorable to you but be careful – your social media accounts can give away vital clues about yourself so don’t use obvious words such as your child’s name or favourite sports team.

Never use the following personal details for your password:

•current partner’s name

•child’s name

•other family members’ name

•pet’s name

•place of birth

•favourite holiday

•something related to your favourite sports team.

Create a password from a memorable phrase

For example, a memorable phrase might be ‘Euan got married on a Saturday in July 1995’.

Taking the first letters from each word in the phrase, we generate the password ‘EgmoaSiJ1995’.

This could be further improved by substituting some letters for numbers or other symbols, eg ‘Egmoa$iJ1995’.

Change passwords regularly

It may be some time before you become aware your password has been stolen. Changing your password regularly increases your security as the stolen password will expire. Avoid using the same password with a different number on the end when changing passwords. This is a common thing people do to help them remember passwords which need to be changed frequently but it is not very secure.

Never give out passwords over the phone or by email

No organisation which treats digital security seriously will ever ask you to do this.

Use a password manager

There are many commercial and free password manager applications which can help you organise your passwords and stay secure. PC Mag UK recently published a comparison of some of them.

b) App permissions.

Go to Settings on your phone or device to look at what information your apps are using. For example, does your online banking app have access to your location? Does that game you downloaded have access to your contacts? What apps have access to your camera?

You can use the following guides to help you do this.

Apple iPhone or iPad / Android / Windows

Alternatively, use to check through the permissions on your devices and social media platforms. website

My Permissions – Apple Store

My Permissions – Google Play

Was there anything that surprised you?

c) Updates.

Did you know that when you update an operating system or application the settings often return to the default? This means that the preferences you have set up are often overridden.

For example, you may find that the photos on your smartphone are being backed up to a cloud service such as iCloud or Dropbox. You won’t always receive clear information telling you this. It’s well worth regularly reviewing all your settings after installing updates.

d) Social media ‘games’.

Have you taken part in one of those ‘Let’s find out more about each other’ games on Facebook or Twitter? They usually ask people to answer a range of questions about themselves. Most of these seem innocuous but often there are questions that are commonly used as security questions threaded through, such as ‘Name of first pet’ and ‘First car you had’.

Another common technique is encouraging people to share personal information by posting what their “Detective Name” is e.g.  the name of your first pet and your favourite place to go on holiday, such as “Sammy Ibiza”.  Again, posting this type of thing on a public forum is very risky as you are revealing private information about yourself that someone else can then use to reset passwords and gain access to your accounts.

Think about what you’re sharing!

e) Wi-Fi safety.

Watch the following video from the Metropolitan Police on Wi-Fi safety.

f) Blog.

Write a blog post reflecting on what you learned and how you feel you can apply this knowledge to your role in social services. You should also include information about any other threats to digital security you are aware of and what can be done to combat them.


One Comment Add yours

  1. The following video is worth a watch re: choosing a secure password.

    Thanks to the author of the Adventures in Social Care blog who linked to this video in their blog entry for this Thing:

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