Internet safety and security

The internet has now become an essential business, social, entertainment and educational resource for most Australians.

The increasing level of economic transactions on the internet is making it the focus of criminal activities. It is important that internet users protect themselves from falling prey to these activities. The following tips list some simple precautions you can take to minimise the chances of becoming a victim of online criminals.

  1. Install anti-virus and other security software, such as anti-spyware and anti-spam software. Use and update this software regularly.
  2. Regularly download and install the latest security patches for your computer software, including your web-browser. Use automatic software security updates where possible.
  3. Use a firewall and make sure it is turned on. Firewalls help prevent unauthorised access to, and communications from, your computer.
  4. Delete suspect emails immediately. This may be a scam so don't open these emails.
  5. Don't click on links in suspect emails. Visiting websites through clicking on links in suspect emails may result in malware (malicious software), such as a ‘trojan', being downloaded to your computer. This is a commonly used and effective means of compromising your computer.
  6. Only open an attachment to an email where the sender and the contents of the attachment are known to you.
  7. Don't download files or applications from suspect websites. The file or application could be malware. Sometimes the malware may even be falsely represented as e-security software designed to protect you.
  8. Use long and random passwords for any application that provides access to your personal identity information, including logging onto your computer. Don't use dictionary words as a password. Ideally, the password should be eight or more characters in length. Change passwords regularly.
  9. Use a limited permission account for browsing the web, creating documents, reading email, and playing games. If your operating system allows you to create a limited permission account, this can prevent malicious code from being installed onto your computer. A ‘limited permission' account is an account that does not have ‘Administrator' status.

(Source: Australian Communications and Media Authority)