Protecting your information

Protect your information

Your data, like passwords and personal information, are valuable to online criminals.  Just like you wouldn’t give a stranger the keys to your home, you should also protect your online information too.

There are ways you can protect the personal information that is stored on your computer and mobile devices.

Keep your operating system up-to-date

Updates are released to protect your computer and mobile devices from new weaknesses that have been discovered. These updates also improve the performance of your devices.

Most operating systems give you the option of turning on automatic updates. This will help you make sure your computer has the most recent updates installed. It will also save you the time and effort of doing it yourself.


Bluetooth is a quick and easy way of sharing photos, files and music. It lets you connect to a nearby computer or mobile device. It’s important to know that if you don’t lock your Bluetooth, some people can access things in your phone, like your contacts. If you don’t want to share this information with strangers, make sure you lock your Bluetooth.

Install malware protection and anti-virus software

Malware is software that has deliberately been made to damage your operating system. It includes viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and adware. As well as affecting how your computer operates, they can also be used to:

  • steal your personal information
  • allow other people to control your computer remotely and use it to do illegal things

Malware can be sent via email so be careful when you open emails. If you get an email from someone you don’t know or it looks suspicious, delete it without opening it.
When you get an email from someone you do know, read the subject of the email – is it likely to be something they would send to you? Some malware may look like it has come from someone you know. If you’re worried, delete the email and contact them directly to ask if they sent it.

Malware is a common risk when using the internet. However, there are some simple ways you can protect your computer and mobile devices.

Top tips

Make sure you follow the below tips for all your devices:

  • Don’t open emails from people you don’t know.
  • Don’t click on links in an email. Links can take you to fake websites that involve scams or download malware on to your device.
  • Use spam filters to block spam before it enters your email inbox. You can get these from most email account providers.
  • Turn off geotagging on mobile devices and social media accounts. If you’re not sure how, check the help page for the website you’re using.

Sharing your child’s information

What you need to know

Images with children in school uniform, their name or indicators of their location in the background can be used by offenders to build a profile and groom parents and children.

Without strong privacy settings, images shared online of their child's first day at school or other everyday images may end up being seen by unintended audiences.

Police are continuing to see instances of everyday images of children in the collections of online child sex offenders.

Police are also seeing cases of online grooming starting through what you as a parent, carer or family members have posted online, including instances of offenders targeting them on social media for access to their children. Offenders offering free products for your child to model clothing, is just one example of how this can occur.

There are simple steps you can take to have more control over who can access content of your child and minimise the chance of inappropriate contact.

Strong privacy settings can limit who can access the content on your social media accounts and personal information.

Some platforms allow you to undertake a privacy check-up to make sure you are only sharing this information with people who you would want to see it, for example, ‘friends only’.

Community or school social media pages featuring children should also consider the types of images being shared and who can view them.

Settings such as ‘private’ groups or ‘invite only’ with approved followers can help to manage who has access to the page.

Advice for parents and carers

All ages
  • It’s strongly recommended that you only share images of your children with people you know and trust
  • Use strong privacy settings on all social media accounts
  • Review you ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ on all social media accounts and remove anyone you don’t know
  • If another person is taking photos of your child, consider having a discussion around how the photos will be used and how they will be shared