How To

How To: Stay safe online

Many of us are spending more time than ever online, as the COVID-19 situation forces us to work and study from home.

The internet provides a wonderful educational resource for children, and a convenient means of communication for people needing to stay in contact with their workplace.

But there are pitfalls and potential problems for people, and especially children, who are not familiar with how to navigate the online world.

Stay safe online with these useful tips from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to wild claims of cures and vaccines for the virus. Ignore them. There is no vaccine or cure. That is why we are being forced to isolate - it is the only way to avoid spreading the virus.
  • Don’t click on text message links about COVID-19, even if they look like they are from the government — scammers are exploiting the hunger for information to spread malware and phishing scams. Australian government agencies don’t send texts containing weblinks.
  • Be suspicious of COVID-19 emails, especially if you do not recognise or trust the address. They could contain a link to a fake website where you are encouraged to enter confidential details that scammers use to steal your money.
  • Be careful what you click on and only download files from trusted sources.
  • Passwords are one of the biggest weak spots in the internet security structure, but there's currently no way around them. The problem with passwords is that people tend to choose easy ones to remember (such as "password" and "123456"), which are also easy for cyber thieves to guess. Select strong passwords that are harder for cybercriminals to guess. Password manager software can help you to manage multiple passwords so that you don't forget them. 
  • Any time you make a purchase online, you need to provide credit card or bank account information -- just what cybercriminals are most eager to get their hands on. Only supply this information to sites that provide secure, encrypted connections. You can identify secure sites by looking for an address that starts with https: (the S stands for secure) rather than simply http: They may also be marked by a padlock icon next to the address bar.
  • Internet security software cannot protect against every threat, but it will detect and remove most malware. You should make sure it's up to date, and be sure to stay current with your operating system's updates and updates to apps you use. They provide a vital layer of security.

Read more about staying safe online here.

This how to guide uses information collected from: