Government puts the spotlight on cyber security 30 May – 3 June

  • Pays to stay safe online
  • Viruses and malware
  • Best to always use an anti-virus program

This week marks the start of the Government’s National Cyber Security Awareness Week, an annual event held to raise awareness of cyber security risks for home and small businesses.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is a key partner of the event which begins today.

‘Everyone, everywhere, needs to be mindful of security issues whenever and however they go online,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘To be part of National Cyber Security Awareness Week again nicely complements the ACMA’s various cybersafety programs.’

Online payment service operator PayPal were also among the key partners of the event, and commissioned a survey which found 60% of respondents used the same password for multiple website services.

"Many Australian consumers are unaware of the size and impact of the digital footprint they leave when interacting online," PayPal Australia managing director Frerk-Malte Feller said in a statement.

More than 45 events will be held across Australia to educate adults and children on sharing personal and financial information online. With more activities like banking, shopping and business being conducted via the web, cyber safety awareness is increasingly essential to ordinary Australians.

To coincide with the launch of National Cyber Security Awareness Week, ACMA has released a report which provides an overview of “international cyber-security awareness raising and educational activities.” The 96-page report analyses the different measures which have been taken internationally to educate citizens on cyber-security risks, including the effectiveness of these campaigns. Some of the key findings of the report include:

•    The main tools used to raise cyber-security awareness were websites and publications. Interactive tools and counselling initiatives were relatively low.
•    Most campaigns were government-lead, with a smaller number of community organisations holding smaller events.
•    Many organisations assume a one-way communication approach will lead to a reduction in breaches in cyber-security. In reality, websites and leaflets will have limited impact when not followed with “hands-on skills acquisition.”

On the Government’s “Stay Smart Online” website, they have listed hot tips residential broadband users and small businesses can use to help protect their personal and financial information online:

1. Install and renew your security software and set it to scan regularly.
2. Turn on automatic updates on all your software, including your operating system and other applications.
3. Think carefully before you click on links and attachments, particularly in emails and on social networking sites.
4. Regularly adjust your privacy settings on social networking sites.
5. Report or talk to someone about anything online that makes you uncomfortable or threatened – download the government's Cybersafety Help Button.
6. Stop and think before you post any photos or financial or personal information about yourself, your friends or family.
7. Use strong passwords and change them at least twice a year.
8. Talk within your family about good online safety.

For more information on the event, or for information on keeping your family or business safe online, visit http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/