TAFE NSW cyber security expert serves up online 'golden rules'

Archived 8 Feb 2021 - Posted: 9 Dec 2020
TAFE NSW student Pooja Dhanwan and TAFE NSW Albury IT teacher Adrian Wallace say the threat of cyber security is growing exponentially.
A TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga cyber security expert has unveiled his top five tips to protect against hackers amid fears the pandemic has left those working from home even more vulnerable to attacks.

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga Information Technology teacher Adrian Wallace said a seismic shift towards remote work meant more networks were being accessed by employees on their own devices, increasing their exposure to cyber threats.

A recent study by the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies found about 75 per cent of Australian workers thought their employers would support work from home plans post-pandemic.

Mr Wallace said the vast majority of cyber security issues could be largely prevented if workers followed these five “golden rules”.

  1. Use complex passwords and passphrases: “A combination of upper and lower case letters, special characters and numbers is ideal,” Mr Wallace said.
  2. Keep operating systems updated: “Turn on auto updates on your phone, tablet or desktop. These update the latest malware threats for your device or computer to scan against.”
  3. Tread warily with unsolicited emails: “Abide by the premise that you can’t trust who you’re talking to online – full stop. Never click on an email if you’re unsure of the sender and don’t follow links in emails unless you’re sure of their bonafide.”
  4. Stay informed: “There is a huge volume of information online to keep you up to speed with cyber security threats. Follow websites or the social media of organisations like Scamwatch and the Australian Cyber Security Centre.”
  5. Ensure malware and anti-virus is regularly updated: “These are being constantly updated as new threats emerge so it’s critical you update them regularly.”

Mr Wallace said while cyber security should be front of mind when online, it also offered a gilt-edged career opportunity.

A recent study by RMIT University found Australia was in the grip of a cyber security skills shortage, with a predicted 18,000 more cyber security professionals needed by 2026 to meet demand.

“Cyber security equals job security and the prospects for employment are excellent,” Mr Wallace said.

“Our department is getting phone calls weekly from local employers looking to fill positions.”

Pooja Dhanwan, who is completing a Certificate IV in Cyber Security through TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga, said the industry was both awash with jobs and rewarding work.

“The job prospects are so strong but cyber security also has the ‘wow factor’; people want to hear more about it,” Ms Dhanwan said.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to help protect ordinary people from cyber criminals.

“I’ve had an amazing experience here at TAFE NSW; the teachers are so supportive and knowledgeable, and the course is so practical.”

To find out more about studying cyber security at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit tafensw

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