Educating your family to help them understand the risks when online doesn’t need to be daunting!

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) empowers Australians to have safer, more positive experiences online through a wide range of online safety programs and resources. eSafety can help Australians experiencing online bullying and or abuse to take action or make a complaint.

You can also find easy, step-by-step information and resources here to help your family stay secure when online.

Top 10 questions parents have about online security

Answers to questions often asked by parents about how to keep your family secure.

Updates include security improvements to fix bugs on your computers, mobiles and even app. Installing software updates will give you the latest security. You can even set them to happen automatically.

If any of your social feeds mention your dog’s name, chances are your dog’s name is common knowledge. Cybercriminals collect information you reveal about yourself online and use this to try and crack your passwords or answers to security questions. It’s best not to use common passwords like your family members’ names, date of birth or any other easy-to-guess personal details.  A strong password is a 14-character passphrase. For added security, turn on a second layer of security with multi-factor authentication whenever possible.

Check your email addresses at haveibeenpwned.com to see if your accounts have been caught in a data breach. If so, change your passwords straight away.

 

Most new devices, like Wi-Fi modem/routers, come with a default or factory-set password. These default passwords are usually available on manufacturers’ websites or in blogs. So if you don’t change the password, they’re only a Google search away for cybercriminals!

Malicious software and viruses can easily download onto your device if you click on untrustworthy links or visit fake websites. Protect your family by installing and automating antivirus and browser software updates, so you’re always running on the latest versions. Talk to your children about not clicking on suspicious websites or links. And make sure your kids are only downloading mobile apps from an official app store. Check out eSafety's advice on parental controls and other online safety tools.

Always read policies for websites and apps on how your information will be used. If you’re not comfortable with the type of information being asked of you, consider if you really want to sign up. You should also review privacy and security settings to decide what personal information you want to share.

Generally, the less personal information you and your family share online, the better. Encourage your kids to use a different name and photo to their own when signing up for online social media or gaming accounts. Teach kids about what they’re potentially giving away online. And lastly, think twice about what you share about your family members; always consider who else is seeing this information.

Check out the eSafety Commissioner guide to games, apps and social networking.

Anything that can be connected to the internet is an attractive target for cybercriminals, including your smart fridge or teddy! If one device is compromised, then a hacker could gain access to your other devices and accounts. Protect your smart devices with strong and unique passwords, and software updates. Check the privacy settings to make sure you’re comfortable with the information that is being collected and how it’s being used. If smart devices don’t have security features or options, like the ability to set a password, or if you’re not using 'smart' features, it’s safer to disconnect them from the internet.

Parental controls are software tools that allow you to monitor and limit what your child sees and does online. As your child grows older, however, it’s best to equip them with the skills and knowledge to protect themselves online, like warning signs for inappropriate content or malicious websites. Visit eSafety for more advice on parental controls and other online safety tools.

Backups help you avoid losing your precious family photos, videos, personal and financial information, and even your kids’ school assignments! Data loss can happen from computer malfunctions, accidental deletion and ransomware attacks. If you’ve got a recent backup (either stored in the cloud or an external drive that you disconnect from your computer), you can easily restore your data. You can set up automatic backup for added peace of mind.

You can use your settings to disable location sharing on mobile devices. Be careful when sharing your location online or geosharing. While location sharing may appeal to many users, it allows social media followers (or anyone, if profiles are public) to see exactly where they are. This can present physical and online risks. Similarly, it’s best to turn off Bluetooth on your device when you’re not using it.

Also, be smart about using public Wi-Fi. The information being sent between your device and the public Wi-Fi network can be intercepted by cybercriminals. 
 

If you think you’ve been the victim of an online nasty, act quickly. More advice is at Where to get help.

House rules for Cyber security

Follow these simple house rules to keep your family secure:

Remember, when you first buy a new device, change the factory-set password on it straight away, including any networked devices (router/modem) that also have a factory-set password.

Tip: Turn on a second step of protection with multi-factor authentication wherever you can.

Turn on automatic software updates to ensure your devices are covered by the latest security protection. Install antivirus software where possible and backup devices to protect important information, photos and data.

Always download from an official app store such as Apple’s App Store or Google Play for Android. Turn on automatic app updates for the latest security protection.

Tip: You can use a nickname and an alternative profile pic to help protect your identity when online gaming or on social media.

Choose what information you want to share. In settings do a privacy check on your devices, browsers, social media and other apps.

Think about the information you share online like birthdays, age, address, or school. It can be used to crack passwords or steal your identity.

Never click on suspicious or unknown links in emails, SMS or social media messages.

Tip: You can use a nickname and an alternative profile pic to help protect your identity when online gaming or on social media.

Learn more

Use our guide to help make your home cyber secure and keep your family’s online security in check all year round. We have designed it with tips and activities for those more often targeted by cybercriminals.

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