Online safety

Last updated: 7 August 2019

On this page

  • Tips for protecting your information thats online
  • Who to contact if you’re harassed, bullied or defamed online

Your privacy is valuable and worth protecting. You should always be aware of it when using websites and apps (such as social media).

How to protect your privacy

Use secure websites to handle personal information

Make sure you are visiting a secure website before entering your personal information, such as banking and credit card details. There are several ways to check if a site is secure, such as if it uses ‘https’ at the beginning of its domain name or has a security icon, usually a small locked padlock, on its browser. You should also use an encrypted wi-fi network that needs a password for a secure transaction.

Use up-to-date security software

Install patches and security software on your computer, including anti-spyware, anti-virus scanners and firewall software.

Download apps from reputable sources

Only download an app from a reputable source, especially if you’re sharing location or financial information.

Use strong passwords

Always:

  • use a different password for each online account — consider using a password manager to help you remember your passwords
  • choose a strong password — we recommend a random combination of numbers, letters and punctuation more than eight characters long
  • change a password regularly

Read privacy policies and privacy notices

An organisation or agency must have a privacy policy that explains how they’ll handle the personal information you enter on their website or app if the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) covers the organisation or agency. The Privacy Act covers organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million and a link to Australia, and some other organisations.

An organisation or agency should also give a privacy notice when they collect your personal information which explains who they are and how to contact them, why they're collecting your personal information, if there are consequences if you don’t give it, and who they're likely to give it to, including if they're likely to send it overseas.

Know what it means to have information on the cloud

The cloud refers to software and services that run on the internet. You access a cloud service on any device with an internet connection.

Information held in the cloud is protected by the Privacy Act if the organisation supplying the cloud service is an organisation that the Privacy Act covers.

Whether a cloud service has breached your privacy may depend on whether the information is stored in an Australian cloud or overseas.

Before signing up for a cloud service, always read their privacy policy.

Help if you’ve been harassed, bullied or defamed

If you’re concerned about

Contact

Your personal information may have been mishandled

Us (OAIC)

A data breach

See Data Breach Support and Resources

An Australian child being cyberbullied

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner

ThinkUKnow

Having been defamed

A lawyer

Protecting yourself online

Stay Smart Online

Australian Communications and Media Authority

Serious harassment

The police

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