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Australian Institute of Sport

AIS helping protect athletes from cybercrime

11 July 2016

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has joined forces with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to help more than 2000 of the country’s finest athletes be aware of the pitfalls of social media and the dangers of cybercrime.

Emerging and elite athletes, including those headed for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, will have access to a new online learning resource developed jointly by the AFP and AIS.

There are, on average, more than 100 reports of cybercrime in Australia every day, with more than 40 per cent of victims aged between 20 and 40. Athletes fit well within this demographic and the AIS called on the expertise of the AFP to help develop the Social Media & Cyber Safety online module.

The resource will be hosted on myAISplaybook, an athlete-only website developed as part of Australia’s Winning Edge strategy to support athlete wellbeing and promote the ideals of personal excellence.

“Sports are increasingly seeking information to educate their athletes about the best ways to stay safe online,” said AIS Director Matt Favier. “Having the AIS and AFP combine their expertise ensures sports and athletes are getting contemporary, trusted advice.

“The AIS launched myAISplaybook in 2014 and it is now accessible to more than 2200 athletes, providing a safe zone for communication, peer-learning and support. There are plans to expand that reach even further. The AIS is committed to supporting athlete development well beyond just the field of play.”

The Social Media & Cyber Safety online module includes advice on protecting online privacy, particularly when travelling overseas or accessing secure websites such as bank accounts.

“Athletes and sports travelling abroad will naturally consider their physical safety, but a course like this prompts them to consider how best to protect their online identities too,” Favier said.

The Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) received more than 39,000 reports of cybercrime from individuals and organisations in 2015 – an average of more than 100 per day.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Olympic boxer Shelley Watts said she’d been a target of cyber-bullying during qualification for Rio, which had brought her to tears. She welcomed the supportive athlete-only environment of myAISplaybook.

“myAISplaybook has been a learning tool where I can access important and relevant information Watts said. “As athletes we can be so focused on our sport, it’s also important for athletes to be aware of things like cyber-bullying and different aspects of learning.”

Commander Glen McEwen said all Australians - not just athletes - need to be aware of ways to protect themselves when going online.

“Email, social networking and website advertising are the top three reported online channels used by cybercriminals to target victims,” Commander McEwen said.

“It’s great to see the AIS take this initiative to try and support athletes, but I urge all Australians to take precautions with their online identities and information.”


Always be careful with personal information you share online, including photos. Never use free public wi-fi to do your banking or anything else which requires you to log into an account. Change account passwords when you return from overseas travel. Reduce the amount of personal or sensitive information on easily stolen electronic items such as laptops and smartphones. Manage the privacy settings on your social media accounts to help manage who can see content. If an email looks suspicious it could be a scam. Don’t try to open it, just delete it.
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