The Victorian government today launched a new online safety campaign warning about the dangers of cybercrime.
Called Protect Yourself Online, the campaign encourages Victorians to safeguard their privacy and think before they act online.
Quoting a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report, Victorian Department of Justice (DoJ) director of strategic communication Simon Troeth said online illegal activites represented the second most common form of economic crime in Australia, with billions of dollars being lost every year.
Using multiple devices that are permanently connected to the internet increases people's vulnerability, said Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology senior lecturer in electrical and computer engineering, Dr Mark Gregory.
Gregory also warned that social media sites could help criminals gather information about victims to harass and hack them.
The campaign recommends creating strong passwords that are changed regularly, using anti-virus programs that are automatically updated, never opening emails from unknown senders and not responding to bullies online to combat such behaviour.
Across the ditch, the New Zealand Government is also aiming to tackle the problem by fast-tracking new laws against cyber bullying, making it an offence to use a communications device to cause harm.
The government has adopted most proposals put forward by the country's Law Commission last year, according to the New Zealand Herald, following a widely publicised case of a young girl committing suicide after receiving threatening texts from her older lover's wife.
Once enacted, the new laws will carry punishments of up to 3 years' jail for those who incite people to commit suicide, and up to 3 months' jail or NZ$2,000 (A$1,610) for those who send menacing messages.