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Securing your accounts and devices

A critical part of a good safety plan is making sure that your devices — phones, tablets and computers — and your email, social media and other online accounts are secure. 

Contact 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for help with more general safety planning. Follow these tips as part of an online safety plan to secure your accounts and devices.

Top tips for securing your accounts and devices

If necessary, set up a new email account that only you can access. Use this email account for things you want to keep private, like safety planning. You may wish to use an address that does not use your name. For example, use SomethingGeneric@email.com, but not YourRealName@email.com.

Change the passwords for all your devices and online accounts and set strong passwords or ‘passphrases’ that are hard to guess. Do not use birthdates, children’s or pets’ names, favourite foods, colours or musicians in your new passwords. Do the same for PINs and passcode, change them frequently and do not share them with anyone.

For more information see our online safety checklist and our social media checklist.

Security experts now recommend using a ‘passphrase’ rather than simply a password. See protecting your personally identifiable information, which includes advice on setting strong passwords.

Do not use the same password, PIN or passcode for more than one account.

Use multi-factor authentication (also called two-step authentication) where possible. This is a security feature that will help protect your online accounts in addition to your password. 

Install anti-virus and internet security software and keep it up-to-date.

Keep your operating systems up-to-date and install all updates to the software and apps that you use on your devices as soon as they are available.

Secure your wireless internet connection — use a strong password or ‘passphrase’ for your router and enable network encryption.

Keep a close eye on your portable devices — such as your mobile, tablet or laptop computer — take extra care so they are not lost or stolen and, when possible, limit other people's access to them. It is also a good idea to set Auto-Lock to one or two minutes, so that your devices automatically lock themselves and require a PIN or passcode.

Strengthen the privacy settings on your social media accounts to make sure that the only people who can see the content you post are the people you choose. For more information about privacy and securing your personally identifiable information see the social media checklist and The eSafety Guide.

Sign out of email and social media accounts once you have finished using them rather than just closing the page or browser.

Do not use saved passwords to access your accounts. If you are using saved passwords to automatically log into your accounts, this is a simple way for anyone who has access to a computer to gain access to your accounts. Remember, if you have not changed your passwords, they may still be saved on devices that your current or ex-partner has access to. Change the passwords on all online accounts and do not save the new password in your browser. 

Be aware of phishing emails and texts and do not open suspicious links or attachments as they can contain viruses and malware.

If you are setting up a new phone or tablet as part of safety planning, do not reinstall it from a backup, as this may bring across any spyware that could have been installed on your device. Instead, set it up as a new device. 

It is also important to ensure that the accounts you use to update your devices, such as your Apple ID, are not shared with your current or ex-partner. If they are, do not use these accounts and set up a new account with a strong password or ‘phase phrase’.

‘How to’ videos

Our video library is full of useful ‘how to’ videos showing how to secure your online accounts and devices.

Go to videos

More information

Try technology checkup quiz to see how safely you are using your phone, tablet computer and online accounts.

Try our interactive technology tour and discover how the devices in your home and car work, and how you can make them more secure.

You can find out more information about protecting your devices on Stay Smart Online, the Australian Government’s online security website. You can also sign up to the free Stay Smart Online Alert service which notifies you of current online threats and how to manage them.

Where can I get help?

If you are feeling unsafe right now ring Triple Zero (000).

If you think your computer might be infected by a virus or malware, contact your local computer expert to help fix the problem.

Our get help and support section has more information on getting legal help, and where to find support.