How safe is the information on your computer, phone or tablet?
Would you ever pack your tax file number, family photos, letters, calendar and credit cards in a box and leave it on the back seat of your car or on your desk at work? Would you let someone borrow these for a while?
What about your laptop, your phone, or your iPad? Security of your portable devices is not just about protecting your investment in hardware. From phone bills to bank account details to email exchanges with friends and lovers, you are likely to have information on your devices that is valuable, personal and confidential. Indeed, with the right information, a person could pretend to be you, affect your credit history, scam your friends or just take your money.
There are a number of simple steps you can take to protect yourself, your computer and your personal information while you are online.
What are the basic things I can do?
You have probably heard about keeping your operating system and virus protection up-to-date, as well as using a firewall and encrypting your wireless internet connections. These very important measures will help fight off ‘uninvited guests’ who attempt to access the information on your device.
Who am I inviting to use my device?
Obviously it is important to protect your device from theft, however, you should also think about who you invite to use or access your devices. Be wary of offers received by telephone or email for computer support services, particularly if they ask you to log on to websites or give ‘remote access’ to your device. By providing ‘remote access’ you are allowing access to all the information on your device.
How can passwords help?
Passwords are the key to all of your information. It is often difficult to keep track of all the passwords you need to access accounts, and so sometimes people use the same password for everything. This is not a good idea, because if a scammer discovers your password they will have access to all of your accounts. Other conveniences, such as internet browsers saving your passwords also present risks. While these mean that you don’t need to remember dozens of passwords, they also mean that anyone who can access your device – remotely or physically – will be able to log on as you into your accounts.
What am I putting on my device?
Sometimes we download software and apps without thinking about whether they came from a reputable source. Indeed, sometimes a ‘pop-up’, which can look professional, comes up on our internet browser and tells us that we must download software in order to protect our computer. Malware – malicious software – is a worldwide problem and can be hidden in software and apps that you download. By allowing malware onto your device you are potentially inviting people you don’t know to access your information.
Visit the links below for practical information on how you can:
- find out more avoiding email scams and fraud and scams
- learn more about spyware and malicious software
- prevent people from illegally using your computer or internet address without your permission - known as zombie computers and spoofing
- find out how we can fight spam
- protect your children online
- protect your server from malicious software such as viruses or spyware
- visit e-security websites for information on current security threats and solutions
- find out more about the Australian Internet Security Initiative
- learn more about Online social networking
A fact sheet about protecting yourself from spam is available for download.
More information about spam is at www.spam.acma.gov.au.