Opinion: Cyber-Security – Stay Smart Online

Author : Sabeena Oberoi ~ Assistant Secretary, Cyber-Security and Asia-Pacific Engagement, Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

“Being online was now just a part of life, and access and use was so straightforward and normal, that often people could forget about issues like privacy and safety online” - Peter Blasina, Gadget Guy (Ambassador 2011 National Cyber Security Awareness Week)

Australians are increasingly relying on the internet in their everyday lives, from banking and shopping, through to using emails, social networking and blogs to keep in touch with family and friends.  They are using a range of devices such as smart phones, tablets, computer game consoles and other devices to go online. 

While the internet offers many benefits, it is important that users adopt safe and secure online practices.  The Australian Government has established a range of initiatives to raise awareness of internet users about the importance of cyber security and cyber safety and the simple steps they can take to protect their personal and financial information online.

One initiative is the National Cyber Security Awareness Week, designed to prompt internet users to improve their online security and safety so they can continue to interact with confidence online.  The Awareness Week is held annually in partnership with industry, community and consumer groups, and all levels of government. 

The 2011 National Cyber Security Awareness Week, held from 30 May to 3 June, was partnered by more than 500 organisations to promote cyber security and safety messages through websites, libraries, schools and workshops, forums and seminars held in cities and regional locations all over Australia.  The Awareness Week provides opportunities for our partners to reach their constituents with cyber security and cyber safety messages and to help the Australian community to get the full benefits offered by the internet in a secure and confident manner.

These opportunities are extended to other key dates in the calendar when people may be targeted by scams, with activities to coincide with the Christmas shopping period, return to school, Valentine’s Day and National Consumer Fraud Week.

The Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online website is a central source of information on the simple steps that Australians can take to protect themselves online.  A series of videos are hosted on the site to make it easier for internet users to learn about safe and secure online practices and behaviours.

The Stay Smart Online website also hosts a free Alert Service, to provide home users and small businesses with up to date information, in plain language, on the latest cyber security threats and vulnerabilities and how they can be addressed.

In addition, the website also hosts the Budd:e, a self-learning and interactive education package for primary and secondary students.  It is available at no cost to all Australians, through the Stay Smart Online website or via a CDRom that can be ordered from the website.  Budd:e won the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association’s 2010 Award for Best Children’s Interactive Media.

The Cybersafety Help Button is another Government initiative designed to keep children and families safe online.  The Help Button provides internet users with easy online access to cybersafety information and assistance.  It offers counselling, reporting and educational resources to assist children deal with online risks including cyberbullying, unwanted contact, scams and fraud, and inappropriate material.

The Help Button is a free application available from the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy website. Schools and libraries can email the Cybersafety Help Button helpdesk at for a multiple installer for PC and Mac OS networked computers.

Mobile and browser versions are currently in development and expected to be launched in the second half of 2011.  Email the Cybersafety Help Button Helpdesk at for more information.  Visit Stay Smart Online for further information on the National Cyber Security Awareness Week, Alert Service and Budd:e.

Tags scamsAustralian GovernmentNational Cyber Security Awareness weekStay Smart OnlineBudd:ecyber safety help buttonDepartment of Brodband Communications

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