Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton have revealed a report from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) that shows how Australians can fight back against cyber criminals and protecting themselves.
The ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report: July 2019 to June 2020 jointly released by the ACSC, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, outlines key cyber crime and cyber security activity.
It revealed more than 160 cyber crime reports were lodged each day with the ACSC, which responded to almost 2,300 cyber security incidents to protect Australians and Australian interests.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the Morrison government’s record investment in cyber over the next decade has never been more important.
"Cyber criminals use a range of methods to try to cheat Australian families and businesses out of their money and their data. Strengthening Australia’s cyber security capabilities and resilience has been, and continues to be, a top national security priority," Minister Reynolds explained.
Here are four practical steps Australians can take to improve their cyber security:
- Passphrases: Replace old passwords with a much stronger passphrase, which represents the lock on the front door of your online security. Passphrases are much harder to crack than a password. Never re-use the same one across multiple online accounts. Using a second layer of authentication (e.g. through 2FA) is also strongly encouraged.
- Scam messages (phishing): Think twice before clicking on web links in emails, messages and social posts, particularly as phishing messages are getting increasingly sophisticated. If you receive an email or text message that asks for your personal details, your password or bank details, just delete it – whether you are at home or at work.
- Updates: When you get a reminder to update the software on your computer, phone or applications, you should do it promptly. Better still, set it to auto-update. It will help you protect your information and identity from cyber-criminals who are always looking to exploit weaknesses in software.
- Public Wi-Fi: Be wary when using public Wi-Fi. It is possible for others to see what you are doing over public Wi-Fi networks, so don’t do online banking or online shopping or send sensitive information.
Minister Reynolds added, "The Australian Signals Directorate is also using its offensive cyber capabilities to strike back against foreign cyber criminals and disrupt malicious cyber activities targeting Australians."
The Commonwealth government has committed to boosting Australia’s cyber resilience through its $1.35 billion investment in cyber security over the next decade, outlined in the Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) Package.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the release of the Threat Report follows the launch of the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy on 6 August setting out the Australian government’s plan to protect Australians online.
"The tools and tradecraft of cyber crime are becoming easier and cheaper to obtain. Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility, it is up to all of us to make it harder for them to be used successfully against us," said Minister Dutton.
He said, "This report contains simple and helpful cyber security advice for individuals and businesses to implement that will significantly reduce the risk of becoming another cyber crime victim."
The ACSC monitors cyber threats across the globe 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When there is a cyber security incident, it provides clear and timely advice to individuals, businesses and critical infrastructure operators.