Cyber security — your responsibility

Not all cyber security risks can be addressed by governments and industry — individuals should also take steps to protect themselves. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how much Australians interact and work online, trusting the internet for healthcare, working from home, education, entertainment and online shopping. Protecting you and your family online is about more than avoiding financial losses. Imagine if all your photos were suddenly taken from your computer, or your personal email contact list was stolen and used to scam your friends and family.  

Information is not just digital information. It includes information that is stored on mobile phones, cloud-based storage, and social media. Malicious cyber activity is one of the most significant threats impacting Australians.  The Australian Cyber Security Centre  provides easy to understand tips and techniques for you to stay secure when working, socialising, banking, shopping or just browsing online. A good place to start is Do things safely.

Between 10 and 26 March 2020, the Australian Cyber Security Centre received over 45 pandemic themed cybercrime and cyber security incident reports, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch receiving over 100 reports of COVID-19 themed scams.

Campaigns were designed to distribute malicious software (malware) or harvest personal and financial information from unsuspecting Australians, read more in the  Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020. The Strategy outlines Australia’s approach to keeping families, vulnerable Australians, critical infrastructure providers and business secure online. Security is a whole-of-community effort, in which we all have a role to play.

Online safety includes protecting individuals, families, and communities from harmful content and behaviours such as cyber bulling, image-based abuse and illegal and harmful online content. The eSafety Commissioner is the main point of contact to report abuse or make a complaint and provides a wide range of online safety programs, resources, and free training. 

Cyber security is at the heart of the transition to a digital society. The Code of Practice: Securing the Internet of Things for Consumers  is a voluntary set of measures the Australian Government recommends for industry as the minimum standard for Internet of Things devices. It informs businesses about the cyber security features expected of internet-connected devices available in Australia and the importance of protecting consumers.

Consumers’ Federation of Australia (CFA) has representatives on  Standards Australia Technical Committees  IT-012 Information security, cyber security and privacy protection and IT-042 Internet of things, ensuring the consumer perspective is considered in the standards development process. Find out how you can represent consumers as part of the  CFA Standards Project or contact