Tips on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

Use your device safely

Make the most of the security features available on your devices, and build good habits to keep yourself safe online.

Starting out

These are some safety tips for when you get a new device, download an app or go on a website for the first time:

  • Look closely at user agreements, terms and conditions or disclaimers.
  • Check whether use of the device, app or website involves any security, privacy or cookie policies or third-party information sharing — check the eSafety guide for advice on privacy settings and how to protect your personal information.
  • Set up a secure password or passphrase — a longer password that is more secure. See protecting personal information, which includes advice on setting up strong passwords.
  • Do not choose the same password for multiple devices, accounts or apps that are important to you.
  • Treat passwords and access codes for your devices like codes for your bank accounts — never share them with anyone. 
  • Only provide as much information as an app or website requires you to (usually indicated with an asterisk*). 
  • Where appropriate, check your account and settings to ensure you are not sharing anything you wish to keep private. These are usually located under a wheel symbol. It is a good idea to check your privacy settings regularly as new device and software updates sometimes involve updates to default privacy settings.

Phones and tablets

How to protect the personal information you store on your devices and in the apps you use:

  • Consider turning off Bluetooth when it is not needed. Use GPS and location services only when required in individual apps.
  • Set your devices so they do not automatically connect to public wi-fi.
  • Manage in-app purchasing to avoid unexpected costs. Turn it off altogether, or set passwords and restrict purchases to those that are age-appropriate.
  • Protect your devices — particularly Android devices — against viruses, malware and spyware. There are apps you can download to reduce the risks.
  • Keep your device’s operating system and apps up to date so you have the latest security features and bug fixes.
  • Back up important music, photos, videos and data regularly.

More tips and how-to videos on phones and tablets

Laptops and computers

Keep yourself safe while accessing the internet on your laptop or computer.


Do not click on suspicious links or attachments in emails, even if they look like they have been sent to you by a friend. You could end up with viruses, spyware or malware on your computer and compromise its security. Find out more about how to avoid online scams and identity theft.

Ensure you have anti-virus and internet security software installed (especially relevant for PCs) and that your computer’s firewall is turned on. Keep your system and installed programs up to date. 

If you have a webcam, consider covering it with some removable tape for extra security when you are not using it, or simply close your laptop. It is unlikely a webcam can be turned on without your consent, but it is possible. 

Log out of sites as soon as you have finished using them rather than just the tab or browser.

More tips and how-to videos on laptops and computer 


Try these safety tips for wearable devices, also called wearable technology, such as smart watches, fitness bands and trackers, and medical devices:

  • Make sure any device your wearable is paired with via Bluetooth is under your control.
  • Manage your device even when it is not in use — store it in a safe place, where no one else can access it, whenever you take it off.
  • Make informed choices about what personal information you want to share.
  • Only link data about your personal challenges and exercise habits with trusted friends.
  • If you use a wearable device provided by the organisation you work for, ask about the type of information they collect. Some organisations require access to an employee's devices so that they can track work locations.

More tips and how-to videos on wearables