Do You Use the Internet? How to keep safe and protect yourself from viruses, scams, hackers and all the other internet nasties

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It’s hard to say what the best thing about technology is.  The way it lets you see and talk to people hundreds of miles away?  Shopping without leaving home?  The mind-boggling amount of information you can find on the web?

On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to say what the worst thing is.  For me, there’s no doubt: it’s the scammers, crooks and con-men out there, trying to use it to steal your money, your identity, or simply hack your computer, tablet or phone.

Some of them are trying to directly steal your money.  Others want to apply for loans in your name (and not pay it back).  Some just want to mess up your devices to cause havoc.

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You might be lucky – for a while – then BAM…

Of course, you might be lucky – at least for a while.  You might go years without anything bad happening.  Then: bam – suddenly you look at your bank statement and your breath’s taken away (not in a good way).  Or you turn on your PC to a message that it’s been locked and to get it back again you need to pay a ransom.  Or… well, you get the picture – and it’s not a nice picture!

It doesn’t need to be like this – you could be safe online…

The thing is, it doesn’t need to be like this.

Once you know how, you can keep yourself well protected from the bad guys.  You just need to know how.

So, does each laptop, phone or tablet come with a guide telling you how to use it safely?  No.

Does your broadband company tell you what to do to protect yourself?  No – at least not in any kind of way that makes sense!

What about the government or the police?  Well, there is some advice on their websites… and if you take the time to do a degree in computer security first, then you might find it helpful… (But then you’d be the one writing it!)

Which is why we’ve always tried to help people to stay safe when they’re using the internet.  Each book we publish about how to use a particular device has some safety information in it.  And as far back as 2005 we started giving away a little booklet with some advice and tips in.

A lot more risks on the internet than there used to be…

The problem is, there’s a lot more to it than there used to be, back in 2005. And it’s one thing to give you advice about using (say) an iPad safely – but a lot of the risks aren’t really about the specific device you’re using… and we simply can’t cover them properly in a page or two.

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That’s why we’ve sat down and recorded a short course that makes protecting yourself online easy.

I say “we” – but mainly I mean Kathryn. In fact the course is called Avoid scams, fraud and internet nasties in 12½ Easy Lessons with Kathryn. With a bit of help from the rest of us she’s put together a course that tells you exactly what you need to know in order to keep yourself safe.

As usual, we’ve made sure everything’s explained in plain simple language – any jargon is properly explained (though most of the time we simply avoid it altogether – it’s just when you might come across it elsewhere that we make sure you know what it means so it can’t confuse you).

Although it’s an “online course”, it’s not like going away to college or doing evening classes.  You can go through it at whatever pace is right for you.  Go back over any bits you want to remind yourself of as many times as you like.  You can even choose what order you go through it in – you’re in control.

Here’s how it works:

Once you join, you get a “welcome email” with a link in it.  Click on that and you’re taken to the course page, listing everything covered.  From there you can click on “Lesson 1: Viruses, malware, phishing and other online safety issues” (or a different lesson if you prefer) and it’ll take you straight to it.

By the way, don’t be put off by them being called “lessons”.  It’s not like school!  We just couldn’t think of a better name for each chunk.  

Once you’re into the lesson you want, you’ll get a short video introducing it – probably just a couple of minutes or so.  It’ll tell you a bit about what you’re going to learn and what the point of it is – what you can use it for.

Then there’ll be a little bit of writing, maybe giving you some background or explaining a couple of important words (don’t worry – there won’t be lots of jargon but sometimes we’ll explain words you might hear elsewhere so they can’t confuse you).

Then another video – maybe this one will be a bit longer, say 10 minutes, maybe explaining the risks and showing you exactly how to keep yourself safe. You’ll watch as Kathryn shows you exactly how it’s done while she explains it nice and simply – you can see the screen of the tablet, phone or PC she’s using as she does it.

Then there’ll be some more writing… and so on through the lesson, all broken up into nice short chunks so you can try it out as you go. 

Or email [email protected] or call 01229 777606

And best of all, because it’s an online course, Kathryn can show you exactly how things work – exactly what to do.  That way it’ll be easy for you to do the same things.  If you understand it first time, great.  If you’re not quite sure (or want a reminder later on), come back and watch it again.  There’s no limit on how many times you can watch each bit. 

So what’s covered?  Well, amongst everything else, there’s:

  • Spam email – annoying but mostly pretty much harmless.  Apart from this type, which isn’t really to do with catching fish and is definitely NOT harmless.
  • Tips on shopping online without risk – and the one thing that makes it literally impossible for the shop to steal your card details.
  • If you’re “facebook friends” with a local burglar, don’t put this on your facebook page.  OK, I’m being a bit silly, but it makes you think about what you do put there… and about who can see it.  (Luckily, you can check – and control who can see it.)
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away, they say.  (It does if you throw it at him, went the old joke.)  But I agree that prevention is better than cure – and these 6 golden rules keep you safe.  Not only that, they’re dead simple and easy – once you know what they are.
  • Unlike real-life viruses, viruses on phones and tablets have one cast-iron cure.  It might be excessive, but definitely worth knowing about – if all else fails, do this.  (No, it’s not chuck your phone under a steamroller!)
  • The one time we don’t recommend you to have anti-virus software (well, apart from if you don’t have an electronic device, of course).

Or email [email protected] or call 01229 777606

That’s not all, there’s also:

  • Ever heard of “Smishing”?  I thought that was the Russian spy organisation in the James Bond books, but no, that’s SMERSH.  Smishing is something you need to know about – easy to be safe from once you know, though (unlike SMERSH!)
  • Sometimes someone will ask me “do you think this email is genuine or a scam?” and often I take one look and tell them.  It’s not that I’m brilliant (ahem) – it’s that I know a handful of tricks that make it so much easier to spot what’s a scam and what’s genuine. 
  • How to use the mysterious sounding “two-factor authentication”.  At the moment it’s often optional but I suspect it will gradually become compulsory.
  • I wouldn’t recommend you only buy a car from the original manufacturer and I wouldn’t say you must only buy wine by driving to the vineyard.  But if you want to buy apps, please ONLY get them from the official app store.  Here’s why.
  • Web browsers (like Edge, Chrome, Safari or whatever) are amazing – without them the web would be all but useless.  But they can be used by hackers and scammers to try to steal from you.  The course tells you what you need to know so you can send the bad guys home with their tail between their legs.
  • You’ve probably seen pop-ups come up asking if you accept cookies in order to use a website.  But do you know what it actually means… and what you’re agreeing to?  And can companies use cookies to spy on you?
  • Identity theft sounds a bit weird – after all, it’s not like someone nicking your TV, where you can see what they’ve taken.  But it can be serious and can cause real problems. Like a lot of things, though, you don’t have to do much to make it A LOT less likely.

Or email [email protected] or call 01229 777606

That’s not every last thing – I can’t list it all here.  As I say, it covers what you need to know in order to keep yourself safe on the internet, whether you use it on a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.  (Apple’s iPhone or iPad or one of the many Android phones or tablets – it doesn’t matter.)

Oh, and I should mention.  Because the course is online, you can access it instantly once you’ve joined – no waiting around for the post to arrive.  In a minute or two from now you could be watching the first video, reading the first part…

Who’s it suitable for?


  • Well, pretty obviously it’s only suitable for people who use the internet! Otherwise it’s a bit irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what type of device you use – all are covered.
  • If you’re an IT whizz or security expert, you might not want to bother.
  • You do need an internet connection and an email address for the course to work because this is an online course – you access it all across the internet on a special webpage you get a log-in to.
  • Oh and you need a tablet or a laptop or desktop PC to actually access the course on. (You could watch it on a smartphone, but the screen is a bit small for it.)

That’s it – you don’t need to be able to go to a college, you don’t need any specific fancy equipment and you don’t even need to set aside specific times in the day (though you can if you want to).  

Or email [email protected] or call 01229 777606

So how much does it cost?

You might know we’ve also made courses about using your PC, tablet or smartphone.  They were hugely popular – people loved the way they really showed you exactly what to do and made it all as easy as possible.

They were also a lot of work to make – there’s a lot of information in them!  Not that we minded that…  Anyway, they cost £58.80.

This course is similar – the same kind of thing, with everything explained in a similar way.  But it is quite a bit shorter (after all, you want what you need to know, not any waffle – so we only made it as long as it needed to be).  So it only seems fair to make it a bit cheaper – after all, it is a much more specific topic.

So we’ve come up with £28.80.  I know, I know, that’s a peculiar number.  It’s not some strange mind-control-by-weird-numbers system or anything.  It’s to do with the system we use for the courses only charging whole numbers before you add the VAT on, which limits what we can set it at.  Progress, eh?

But I think you’ll agree, £28.80 will seem a small price to pay when what you learn keeps you safe – when you don’t wake up one day to find your PC or whatever locked and a ransom demand on it… and don’t discover you’ve not only got a virus on your device but have accidentally spread it to all your friends… or when you don’t find someone’s hacked into your computer, pretended to be you and taken out a loan for thousands – that they’re asking you to repay.

But that’s not all – there are two more things you should know…

First, you’ll also get a free copy of an ebook called Internet Security Myth Buster – separating the rumours from reality when you get the course.

Or email [email protected] or call 01229 777606

You know how there are some “urban myths” that do the rounds that just aren’t true?  Everything from there’s a race of alien lizards running the world to the idea that the moon landings were faked.

Well, internet security is no different – and some of the myths are no more sensible.  But the thing is, if you’re not clued up on this stuff, they might sound sensible. So if you hear (or read) someone saying it confidently enough and it sounds like it could be true, well, how do you know it’s a pile of rubbish?

Some of the myths aren’t particularly dangerous – they just make you worry for no reason.  Others could actually cause you problems.  Either way, it’s better if you know not to pay any attention!

That’s where this ebook comes in.  It takes the common myths that go around, that could easily take you in, and it explains the truth.  Then when you hear them or read a post on Facebook or in an email (or even in a newspaper – I’ve seen that happen!) you can safely ignore them – or if you like, correct them.

Plus, with some of them you can have a good laugh, if you’re so inclined.  Either way, knowing what you can safely ignore will help you to pay attention to what does matter – and keep you safer.

Secondly, you should know about the 12-month money back guarantee

We don’t want anyone to be unhappy with this course.  Frankly, if you want using the internet to be safer – to keep yourself protected – then I think you’ll find this is exactly what you want.

But just in case I’m wrong, I don’t want you unhappy with the course.

So if at any time in the 12 months after you join the course you decide you’re not happy with it, contact us (phone or email is best but anything short of a carrier pigeon will do) and we’ll refund you in full.

I mean it – at any point within 12 months after you join, if you decide it’s not for you, just let us know and we’ll refund you.  No quibbles, no awkward claim forms… just let us know who you are so we refund the right person!

I want you to know that you’re taking no risk in joining the course – if you don’t think it was worth it you get all your money back (and keep the free ebook as a little thank you for giving it a try).

Or email [email protected] or call 01229 777606

A few more important details about the course:

  • You can work at your own pace – you control the speed.
  • As I mentioned, you can redo any bits you want to go over again – as many times as you like.
  • You don’t even have to do it in order.  That’s the way we designed it, but you can skip ahead to parts that particularly interest you if you want – just click or tap on the bit you want to do next on the “contents page”.
  • You don’t have to finish it in a set amount of time.  You have full access for as long as the course is online (we have no plans to ever take it down – but we guarantee to keep it available for at least 3 years – probably a lot longer).
  • You can do the course on a tablet, laptop, PC – whichever you prefer.  You don’t have to stick to only one, either – use your tablet one day, a PC the next if you like.  (In theory you could do it on a smartphone but the screen would probably be a bit small and make it fiddly.)

One more thing I must mention: Doors slam shut on the 2nd October

Enrolment is only open for just under three weeks.

At 5pm on Friday 2nd October, the doors shut and if you haven’t joined by then, you won’t be able to – at least for now.

(If you have joined by then, you’ll still have access to the course after that – as I said earlier, once you join you have access for as long as the course is online – at least 3 years.)

But if you haven’t joined by then, you’ll miss out.  We might open the course again in the future… but if we do I can’t promise it’ll be the same price.

Or email [email protected] or call 01229 777606

Imagine how awful it would be if you did get “got” by one of the many internet nasties out there.  Whether you found they’d spent money from your account, hijacked your device so you couldn’t use it or successfully pretended to be you and done all sorts of nefarious things, it’s not what you want!  

But instead you can feel the warm glow of knowing you’re prepared and properly protected against it all.

Best do it now – don’t take risks on the internet

So if you’re thinking about it, it’s best to join the course now (you don’t even have to start going through it straight away, just join it now) even if you’re umming and ahhing about it.  After all, if it turns out you’re not happy with it for some reason at any point in the next 12 months you can get your money back, so you’re not risking anything.

To join, just click here to go to the “checkout” page.  Or if you prefer, ring 01229 777606 and Emma, Jade or Alicia will sort it all out for you.

After all, you’ve nothing to lose… apart from the risk of getting “got” by one of the many internet nasties.

Why not do it now, while it’s on your mind?  Within a few minutes you’ll have access to the course and you’ll be able to start straight away… or save it for later (whichever you prefer).


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Don’t forget, if you join the course and find you aren’t happy with it at any point in the first 12 months, you can get your money back – every penny.

There’s no risk in joining so why not join the course now, while you think of it (and before enrolment ends)?  Just go here or call 01229 777606.

Or email [email protected] or call 01229 777606.