How to avoid giving away your personal details online

Assume that any information you put on the web is a permanent record and will be there for years to come. Services such as Google's cache take snapshots of web pages and display them even after the original site has been taken down.

The following is not exhaustive:

Safe social networking

How to keep safe when using social networking services:

The following links have useful information on keeping safe and other issues:

Email threats

Email is a major source of concern with regard to spreading of malware and of phishing for personal details. Be sensible when reading your email and follow these basic guidelines:

Apart from the threat of infecting your computer with malware, emails and instant messages are commonly used to phish for personal information. Any personal information you give away could help someone to steal your identity.

General advice:

Safe surfing

Please note: familiarise yourself with the University's Acceptable Use Policy (PDF, 72kB)prior to accessing University computer systems.


A lot of these sites are surfed into by accident because they are often deliberately registered with domain names that are similar to those of well-known and respected brands or companies. If you find such a website:

  1. Do not linger on the page or click any links, navigation icons or popups, no matter how disgusted or intrigued you might be
  2. Report it to the Internet Watch Foundation immediately

It is natural to be inquisitive, but computers, by providing access to so much content, make it very easy to overstep the fine line between inquisitiveness and what is criminally actionable. Computers leave footprints and there are a number of forensic techniques for finding out sites visited and files downloaded. See Wikipedia's computer forensics page.