Tips for Safer Internet Day

Today marks Safer Internet Day, and this year's theme is 'Create, connect, and share respect: a better internet starts with you'. I welcome the call for more respectful communication as part of making the internet safer.

But, as shadow assistant minister for cyber security, I also remind Australians that they can make the internet safer and more secure by following a few basic steps.

Step 1 is making sure you have a safe, secure and strong password. A 2016 Verizon report revealed that 63 per cent of confirmed data breaches involved weak, default and stolen passwords. Astoundingly, around 50 per cent of people still use the top 25 most popular passwords. We're talking here about passwords like '123456', 'password1', 'abc123' and the new ones on the list this year, 'iloveyou' and 'starwars'. If you are using any of these popular passwords, you need to change them immediately. Sixty-three per cent of attacks are through weak passwords. You are vulnerable to attack. The current best practice is to make sure your passwords are long but memorable and contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers. Secondly, make sure you regularly back up your files and data. Thirdly, make sure you regularly update your security. Make sure you patch regularly on all your devices.

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