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Let’s all work together for a safer online environment. Get started with these top tips for securing your device and helping you protect your personal information.
Safeguard your device
One of the best things you can do to help protect your computer and your information is to install a reputable security software package (often referred to as 'anti-virus' software). This software is designed by experts to combat online threats. For your home broadband needs, we recommend Telstra Broadband Protect. Regularly check whether software updates are available for your operating system and apps, as security levels are constantly improved. Choose 'automatic updates' for peace of mind as that way, any known vulnerabilities are quickly addressed.
When possible, take advantage of passcode/word options on apps and devices so if you misplace your device or leave it unattended other people can't access your information. Access your settings to ensure your screen auto-locks when you're not using it. See our interactive mobile guide to learn how you can control safety settings on your device.
It's a great idea to make a copy of all the data on your device, whether it's photos, music or files, and store it safely on an external hard drive, in the cloud or on a separate system in a different location. That way, if something goes wrong, be it fire, theft, malfunction, or forgetfulness, your information is still available. You can use your back-up to restore your data to your device. Investigate the in-built tools on your device for locating or wiping data.
Before you forget about your old device, recycle it or pass it on to someone else, it needs to be cleaned of all your data and settings. The next user should not be able to access any of your information, including images, files or videos. Reset your device by erasing all your content and settings. Our interactive mobile guide shows you how. Recycle your old mobile phone and accessories for free with MobileMuster. Visit recyclingnearyou.com.au to find out where to recycle old electronics.
Protect your personal information
Your personal information is information that identifies you. In order to protect your personal information, you should be careful about what information you share publically online. Some examples of things you shouldn’t share publicly include: full name, address, phone number, date of birth, email address, bank details, usernames, especially if they link to personal details, as well as any fact used as a back-up question for forgotten passwords.
Improve your online safety by creating a strong, unique password for each of your online accounts. As a guide, a strong password is eight characters or more and uses a random mix of letters, numerals, symbols and capitals. You could also try typing out three or four words, what’s known as a passphrase. Or consider a reputable password manager software tool to help create, remember and manage passwords.
Trust your instincts. If you encounter something unsolicited, unexpected, too good to be true, or coercive, or anything that asks for personal or financial information, double and then triple check it by asking others, calling up the organisation on its official number or searching online for any background information on the sender or offer. Many organisations provide examples of current scams on their websites. You can also check the Australian Government's SCAMwatch radar for widespread scams. In this space, it pays to be a bit suspicious.
Websites using two-step log-in, commonly called two-factor authentication, are generally more secure, as by asking for a password and an additional criterion, the barrier to fraudulent activity is stronger. It's a good habit to enable two-step log-in when offered. A common second-step may be an SMS verification.
Free Wi-Fi that you might find in public spaces and cafes is great for surfing the web but use a trusted, encrypted network (such as your home broadband network or mobile broadband) for shopping, banking and sending personal information.
Be cautious about the information you reveal online. Don't reveal too much, especially on social media. Restrict who can access your posts in the settings. Check the site's terms and conditions to see if it's secure and will protect the data you provide. Consider using an alias or fake details where your real identity is not required or important. For example, when asked for your mother's maiden name – you don't have to use the real one.