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Monday, 08 October 2018 09:47

Campaign launched to ‘reverse the threat’ of cyber crime

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Campaign launched to ‘reverse the threat’ of cyber crime Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A campaign has been launched by businesses, government and community organisations across Australia in a move designed to reverse the threat of cyber crime, as figures show that one in four Australians were hit last year.

The Stay Smart Online campaign has been launched as part of Stay Smart Online Week running from today — 8 October — to 14 October, under the theme "Reverse the Threat" designed to encourage all Australians and businesses to take simple actions to defend themselves against cybercrime.

“One in four Australians were hit by cyber crime last year – that’s over six million Australians. If we’re going to fight back, we need to work together,” Alastair MacGibbon, head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, said.  

“Fake emails and texts that try to get you to provide your personal information, fake shopping websites and fake invoices sent to Australian businesses are just some of the ways that cyber criminals are targeting Australians.

“We really want to draw attention to the threat of cyber crime, which is why we are changing our website and social media pages from colour to black and white for Stay Smart Online Week.

“Businesses, government and community organisations across Australia are also uniting to help reverse the threat of cybercrime throughout Stay Smart Online Week. Stay Smart Online partners — including ANZ, Facebook, NAB, Australia Post, AGL, Qantas and many others — will display 'Reverse the threat' black and white imagery on their websites and social media, and work with their customers and employees to focus the community's attention on cyber security.”

According to MacGibbon, “Australians are receiving thousands of emails every day from cyber criminals who try to trick us into providing our credit card details, bank account logins, account passwords and personal information to gain money. It's time to get smarter online”.

“Cyber crime is planned. Cyber criminals use psychology to take advantage of us – like our desire to find love, make money, grab a bargain or be compliant. You can fight back by using our tips, tools and techniques.”

MacGibbon says this year’s Stay Smart Online campaign focuses on four key areas to help individuals and businesses to stay one step ahead of cyber criminals by improving personal and organisational cyber security:

  • PASSWORDS: Passwords are the lock on the front door to our online lives. Make sure you have strong passwords and use a second layer of authentication, like an SMS code or a fingerprint.
  • PHISHING: We all need to closely check emails asking for personal details, or verification of our passwords or bank details – whether we are at home or at work. Fake emails are getting increasingly sophisticated. Contact the vendor or organisation independently to check its authenticity.
  • UPDATES: When you get a reminder to update the software on your computer, phone or apps, you should do it promptly. Better still, set it to auto-update. It will help you protect your information and identity.
  • PUBLIC WI-FI:  It is possible for others to see what you are doing over public Wi-Fi networks, so be wary – don't do online banking or online shopping or send sensitive information.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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