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For more simple steps to defend your data, visit our dedicated page which includes information on how to report a scam and other resources that are available -


For up to date advice on how to protect yourself online, information on the latest online threats and how to respond, please visit Stay Smart Online.

There are a number of ways you can protect yourself before, during and after a cyber security incident.


  • Follow the manufacturer’s advice when installing or configuring devices.
  • Install system updates on phones, tablets, computers, TV, toys and appliances as soon as possible. Consider replacing devices that no longer receive security updates.  
  • Install antivirus/anti-malware software from a legitimate and well known company.
  • Choose a unique password of eight characters or more for each online account. This makes it harder for another person to access all your online accounts.   
  • Turn on two-factor or multifactor authentication for important online accounts. This sends a code to another device like your phone to verify who you are.
  • If you are asked to set an answer to an account recovery question be creative and don’t set answers that could be easily guessed by other people.
  • Don’t post too much personal information on social media that could be used to access your data or steal your identity.
  • Be aware of scams, fraud and phishing emails that try to trick you into giving away your personal information or your financial details. If you’re not sure why you’re being asked for information, call the company directly to check.
  • Regularly copy your important data to a separate location so you can retrieve it if necessary using an external hard drive that is stored offline and/or a cloud service.  
  • Be careful about what you do online when you’re using public Wi-Fi — for example if you’re logging on at a café or airport. Never do online shopping or internet banking on unsecured Wi-Fi.
  • If you run a business, make sure staff understand online security roles and responsibilities and include online security in your business plan.
Advice before a cyber security incident


  • Monitor Stay Smart Online for the latest information.
  • If you think devices or computers have been compromised, isolate these from network connections by turning off Wi-Fi or unplugging the data network cable. Change your passwords using a computer that has not been compromised.
  • If a criminal act may have occurred contact authorities.
  • Seek technical support to assess and secure your devices.
Advice during a cyber security incident


  • For advice on recovering from a cyber incident visit Stay Smart Online.
  • Contact your financial institution if you think your account details have been used in a scam or to pay a ransom.
  • Ensure latest antivirus/anti-malware software updates are applied.
  • Restore data from backups to secured devices or computers.
  • Reconnect devices and computers to the internet.
Advice after a cyber security incident

This page includes material from:
StaySmartOnline © Commonwealth of Australia 2016
CertNZ © 2017 CERTNZ