Boosting Cybersecurity: ATO’s Recommendations for the Modern Taxpayer

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In an age where digital presence has become intrinsic to our daily operations, both in personal and professional spheres, the emphasis on cybersecurity has never been more pressing. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) recently highlighted the significance of this, pointing out that throughout 2022, a cybercrime was reported approximately every seven minutes. That’s a staggering statistic and one that should give every individual and business pause.

To safeguard yourself from becoming part of this statistic, the ATO recommends several steps. Let’s break these down for better clarity and understanding:

1. Stay Updated: Protect your Devices and Software

The digital world evolves rapidly. And with this evolution, vulnerabilities can emerge in outdated software and devices. Regular updates ensure you have the latest security patches, decreasing the likelihood of a cyberattack.

  • Key Takeaway: Always ensure you’re downloading updates from authorized sources. Verify the legitimacy of programs before downloading to avoid malicious software.

2. Level Up Access Security with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Single-password access is becoming a relic of the past. MFA, as its name suggests, requires multiple forms of verification before granting access. This could be something you know (password), something you have (a token or a phone), or something you are (fingerprint or retina scan).

  • Key Takeaway: Whether you’re an individual or a business, integrating MFA provides an additional security layer. With varied options available, like tokens, authenticator apps, emails, or SMS, the flexibility of MFA adoption has increased.

3. Backup Regularly: Ensure Data Redundancy

In the unfortunate event of data loss or a cyber breach, having backup files can be a lifesaver. Whether it’s essential tax documents, business data, or personal photos, regularly backing up your data ensures you won’t be left in a lurch.

  • Key Takeaway: Diversify your backup methods. Utilize both external devices and cloud storage. This redundancy can help avoid the frustrations and costs associated with data recovery.

4. Embrace Passphrases: The Evolution of Passwords

A passphrase is essentially an evolved form of a password. It’s longer, typically comprising multiple words, making it more challenging for hackers to decipher. When combined with symbols, capitals, and numbers, passphrases can be formidable security tools.

  • Key Takeaway: If remembering complex passphrases seems daunting, consider using a reputable password manager. These tools can generate robust passphrases and store them securely, ensuring you don’t have to remember every single one.


Cybersecurity is not just an IT issue; it’s a holistic concern that requires awareness and proactive measures from everyone. With the ATO emphasizing the importance of these four steps, it’s evident that in the evolving digital landscape, being cyber wise is not just recommended, but imperative. Always remember: prevention is better than cure, especially in the cyber realm.

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