The Department of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) this week began a week-long campaign to protect business and online users against Internet threats.
It is all part of National E-Security Awareness Week from October 23-27, 2006.
As part of the awareness compaign DCITA today launched www.staysmartonline.gov.au, which provides common sense advice to ensure users are protected online.
It is a follow-up to the GetNetSafe campaign launched by the Internet Industry Association (IIA).
The GetNetSafe campaign provides trial downloads of security software with the aim of increasing Internet protection and is available at www.secureyourcomputer.info.
IT Minister Senator Helen Coonan said E-Security Awareness Week is part of the federal government's effort to enable Australians to put in place basic steps to protect themselves.
A steering committee was established to launch E-Security Awareness Week, which included the Attorney-General's department, the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, Telstra BigPond, eBay, McAfee, Microsoft, Sophos and Symantec.
Sean Richmond, senior technical consultant for Sophos said a recent poll of small business found many did not protect their business adequately because they did not fully understand online threats.
Richmond said this is because computer threats have changed considerably over the last 12 months to offer highly targeted attacks at small groups of Internet users.
"Small businesses are especially good targets for cyber criminals because they are often unaware of how to protect their information while online," Richmond said.
"Cyber criminals are using spyware programs, Trojan horses and phishing campaigns to acquire corporate and personal information in the hope of stealing significant amounts of money from their victims.
"It is very encouraging to see initiatives such as the National E-Security Awareness Week and the "GetNetSafe" campaign, which should help in promoting awareness of online threats and the steps Internet users can take to protect themselves and their businesses."
As part of National E-Security Awareness Week, Sophos is holding educational seminars nationwide in Melbourne, Cairns, Adelaide and Darwin.