The internet has enabled kids to learn, share and create like never before. But it has also become a space for cybercriminals to cause trouble and steal from others.
It’s important to instil cyber secure behaviours from an early age to help children learn how to identify cyber threats and how to mitigate them.
Calling all kids!
Cat memes, fail videos, face filters – the internet is awesome! Unfortunately, not all internet users are as great. Some go online just to cause trouble and steal from others. To help you stay safe on the internet, we’ve created this manual. It’s filled with handy hints you can use to level up your cyber security and stay secure online!
Meet the players involved when it comes to cyber security
Awesome, brilliant, cool and funny. The cyber security hero is the person reading this right now. You!
The Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ASD’s ACSC)
That’s us! The ASD's ACSC provides advice and information about how to protect you and your family online.
We monitor cyber threats 24/7.
The Scamwatch team shows people how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
Scams are dishonest or illegal plans used by cybercriminals to attack unsuspecting victims.
eSafety is Australia’s online safety regulator. Complaints can be made to eSafety for the removal of harmful content.
eSafety also researches and provides evidence-based advice, resources and programs to improve online safety skills.
Crims. Crooks. Con artists. These good-for-nothing thugs use the internet to carry out their crimes.
There’s nothing they love more than infecting people’s devices, spreading illegal files and stealing money!
How to beat cyber threats
Updates give your device a security power-up!
Updates find and fix flaws in software that cybercriminals use to hack your device. They also add new features to your devices and can make them run faster.
Check out cyber.gov.au to learn how to install updates.
HINT: BEWARE! - Outdated software and apps can leave your device buggy and open to cyber attacks.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) puts an extra shield around your account.
With MFA activated, you’ll need to give multiple types of information to access your account. For example, you may need a text message code and your password to log in. This means that even if a cybercriminal guesses or steals one part of your login details, you’ll still be protected by your extra shield!
Backing up your device is like saving your progress in a game.
It makes a copy of your important files at that moment in time and puts them in a secure place. Having backups means you can restore your files if something goes wrong with your device.
A passphrase is like a password but on expert level!
When you can’t turn on MFA, use a passphrase! A passphrase uses four or more random words as your password. This makes it hard for cybercriminals to guess and easy for you to remember.
For example, ‘purple duck boat sky’.
HINT: Using big words in your passphrase will make it even tougher!
Recognise and report scams
Beating cybercriminals takes teamwork.
If you receive a fishy email or message, report it to Scamwatch straight away.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Cybercriminals are crafty and might use a name and address you know, but follow your instinct. The faster you report the scam, the quicker we can act.
Go to Scamwatch and visit the Report page on our website.
Now that you’ve got cyber security smarts, you’re ready to log back on and enjoy the internet securely.
Just remember, cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways to target people online.
It never hurts to brush up on your cyber security know-how from time to time and learn new ways to stay secure.
Calling Parents and Carers!
Parents and carers play an important role in helping children stay secure online.
What can you do?
Protect your family from cybercriminals by teaching your child how to be secure online by implementing these 5 simple steps:
Beating cybercriminals takes teamwork.
If you receive a fishy email or message, report it to Scamwatch straight away. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Cybercriminals are crafty and might use a name and address you know, but follow your instinct. The faster you report the scam, the quicker we can act. Go to Scamwatch and visit the ReportCyber page on our website.
Examples of cyber threats
The internet makes it easy to communicate, play and create with friends! But not everyone online is friendly and spotting the difference between friend and foe can be hard. The examples below show real examples of how cybercriminals are targeting teenagers online.
Case Study 1
Fourteen-year-old Summer from WA thought she had made a new friend on Discord, a popular online communication platform.
The friends played Minecraft together and would chat in-game and over Discord.
The friend shared some new code he was working on to Summer to review. Although Summer was suspicious, she decided to trust her new friend and downloaded the code to her device.
After downloading and running the code, the friend gained access to Summer’s personal information, which they started sending and sharing to others, putting Summer at greater risk of identity theft, stalking and harassment online.
Case Study 2
Thirteen-year-old Jai from Victoria received an Instagram message from someone he thought was a friend containing a link. Jai clicked on the link which led to a blank page.
Five minutes after clicking on the link, Jai was logged out of his Instagram account and could not get back in.
The link was sent by a cybercriminal, who now had access to Jai’s account.
The cybercriminal began messaging Jai’s friends about a bitcoin scam and sending out more malicious links.
Jai made a new account and sent a message to the cybercriminal who had access to his old account. The cybercriminal asked Jai to take a video of himself claiming the bitcoin scam was real and profitable which would be sent to Jai’s friend. In return, the cybercriminal would give Jai access to his old account.
Jai refused to make this video and was blocked by the cybercriminal.
To limit this damage
Not everyone using social media or gaming platforms are who they say they are. Encourage your child to take a moment to check if they know the person, and if they don’t, to ask for your guidance. Teach your child to not click on links or download files from people they don’t know. If unsure if an account is their friend, they should ask for guidance and check with them offline.
Prevention is key!
Download the ASD's ACSC’s Cyber Security Instruction Manual: A Kid's Guide to Using the Internet Securely to learn 5 easy steps you can teach your kid to help them stay secure online.