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

COVID-19 Alert

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) it may take longer than usual to address all reports or enquiries made with our investigation teams.

Please continue to submit reports and we will review them as soon as possible.

If you are worried about your safety or are at risk of harm right now contact police immediately by calling Triple Zero (000).

If you need someone to talk to and are under 25, contact Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).
For all other ages, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Smart home

Thinking of smartening up your home? Smart home technology is no longer limited to a one-on-one with your smart speaker — there is now smart technology to control your lighting, room temperature, vacuum your floor and even evaluate your wrinkles!  

Smart home systems can offer better security, comfort, and energy efficiency but as with any connected device or system, it’s important to be aware of the risks.

What to look out for

  • Do some background research to get across any obvious safety or security issues.  
  • Understand what data is being collected and how exactly that data will be used. For example, some robot vacuum cleaners create digital floor maps of your house and can send the data to third parties.  
  • Understand that any data you share with your device, may be used for advertising purposes.
  • If the wireless connection or information storage is inadequately secured, any data or recordings may be accessed by other people and shared without consent, and may allow outsiders to contact your child online without you knowing.

How to stay safe

  • Update software regularly and ensure security and privacy settings do not reset to default settings when you do.
  • Update default usernames and passwords with stronger versions.
  • Secure your home network; it’s wise to change your wi-fi password on a regular basis especially if you’re still using the default password.  
  • Create a “guest” network to connect all your smart home devices to. This lessens the chance of the ‘control’ device — such as a smartphone or tablet — being compromised.   
  • Turn on wi-fi protected access (WPA) which is a security protocol that creates a secure network via encryption.
  • If you are using a smartphone or device to control smart home devices, ensure they are secured with strong passcodes to protect personal data.
  • Share as little personal information and data as possible. Understand what happens with the information you, or your child, provide when setting up the account or using the device. Learn more about protecting your personal information.
  • Be aware of any third-party apps or software that can access your data.