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Staying safe online: ways to digitally protect yourself

Staying safe online: ways to digitally protect yourself

The internet has opened a world of possibilities. It allows us to connect, work, play, shop and even manage our finances wherever and whenever we want. But as fun as it is to engage online, it also comes with risks. 

In this day and age, cybercriminals are quite savvy in their attempts to lure you into clicking on a dodgy link or attachment. In fact, around one in three Australian’s are affected by cybercrime.

To help decrease the staggering number of cyber-attacks the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) introduced ReportCyber on July 1 of last year. The network helps Australians and small to medium enterprises by enabling them to report cyber issues and cybercrime.

The Cybercrime in Australia report revealed within the first three months of ReportCyber operating they received 13,672 reports – that’s an average of 148 cybercrime reports per day.

It seems falling victim to cybercrime is more common than we might think. It’s best to stay vigilant online and be aware of the dangers – scams, spam, viruses, phishers, identity theft, fraud, cyberstalking, catfishing and hackers are just a few. So, how can you reduce your risk of falling victim to online crimes?

Navigate cyberspace securely by making simple actions to safeguard yourself from online threats – and know how to handle them if they do happen to you.

Here are a few protection practices to help you stay safe online:

Protect your identity

When using a platform that requires a username try creating one that isn’t your real name and a profile picture that doesn’t contain any personal information.

Do not share private information

Personal information such as your address, location, school, workplace, phone number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, passwords, bank details and tax file number should be kept in a secure place – like your memory or written down somewhere safe. It’s important not to share these with anyone besides the verified institutions that require them.

Use strong passwords and access codes

Some cyber criminals could be amateurs trying to guess a generic password to log into an account – like ‘password123’. That’s why it’s imperative to use strong, unique passwords that are harder to guess.

Only connect to secure networks

Try to avoid connecting to free or public WiFi hotspots where cybercriminals have easy access points through the unsecured connection. Instead, use a trusted source like the personal hotspot from your phone.

Back it up

Regardless of whether you’re trying to be safe online, backing up your data is a smart and safe option. The more frequently you back up your documents, photos and videos, the more relieved you’ll feel if something where to happen to your device.

Defend with anti-virus software

Install anti-virus software on your computer, phone or tablet to safeguard against malware. To be extra safe, you can set the software to automatically check for updates on a daily basis.

Be careful of requests

Only accept ‘friend’ requests from people you know in real life. If you practice this, it lessens the risks of getting into an unsafe situation – especially for children.

Block or delete the negative

Remove yourself from uncomfortable situations by blocking or deleting people who have acted inappropriate or made you feel unsafe. This stops them from seeing your profile or having contact with you all together.

As we continue to digitally connect and share throughout our daily lives, let’s help keep our families protected and remember to always stay safe online.

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