Stay safe online during the coronavirus pandemic

Cybersecurity tips for remote workers.

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) has urged Queenslanders working from home as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to remain vigilant with their online security. 

QPS advises remote workers should implement these basic cybersecurity tips to help protect their devices and personal information.

  • Start with cybersecurity basics. Keep your security software up-to-date. 
  • Make sure your passwords are long, strong and unique: at least 12 characters that are a mix of numbers, symbols and capital and lowercase letters.
  • Secure your home network. Start with your router. Turn on encryption (WPA2 or WPA3). Encryption scrambles information sent over your network so outsiders can’t read it. WPA2 and WPA3 are the most up-to-date encryption standards to protect information sent over a wireless network. No WPA3 or WPA2 options on your router? Try updating your router software, then check again to see if WPA2 or WPA3 are available. If not, consider replacing your router.
  • Be aware of phishing emails from odd email addresses containing malicious links.
  • Keep an eye on your laptop. Never leave it unattended – like in a vehicle or at a public charging station.
  • Dispose of sensitive data securely by shredding it. Paperwork you no longer need can be treasure to identity thieves if it includes personal information about customers or employees.

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The warning comes after the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) said it was aware of a significant increase in Australians being targeted with COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails. 

In the last three months, the ASC and the Australian Competition and the Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch received more than 140 reports from individuals and businesses across Australia.

The ASC said the scams, which included sophisticated phishing emails, fake websites, malicious links, computer viruses, malware and ransomware were likely to increase over the coming weeks and months. 

WATCH OUT FOR CORONAVIRUS SCAMS 

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said scammers were using the uncertainty around COVID-19 to take advantage of people.

“We’ve had a wide variety of scams reported to us, including fake online stores selling products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for coronavirus, and stores selling products such as face masks and not providing the goods,” Ms Rickard said. 

“Understandably, people want information on the pandemic, but they should be wary of emails or text messages claiming to be from experts. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the Department of Health and the World Health Organization websites directly.”