Internet Safety: Spam & Viruses

Not everyone who uses the Internet has good intentions. A few simple tools and useful information can make all the difference to keeping your computer safe.


A computer virus is a program or piece of code loaded onto your computer without your knowledge. It is designed to copy itself into your computer's programs and spread itself from one computer to another.

Computer viruses are usually written with malicious intent by hackers and are typically spread through email attachments, web pages, shared documents, spreadsheets, .exe files and software programs. Viruses can have negative effects on your system - even a simple virus can quickly wipe out the contents of your hard disk or crash targeted software applications.

This may all sound scary, but protecting your computer against viruses is easy. All you need to do is install antivirus software and keep it up to date. Antivirus software automatically checks all new CDs, disks, email attachments and files downloaded from the Internet. If a virus is detected, the antivirus software helps to eliminate it and repair your files.

FREE* Optus Internet Security Suite

Optus Internet Security Suite offers a complete range of Internet protection, including anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall and parental controls.

Optus is offering all Broadband customers Optus Internet Security Suite FREE for 12 months. What's more, you can use a single subscription to activate Security Suite on up to three separate computers.

Managing Your Antivirus Software

Once you have installed your antivirus software, you should immediately scan all files on all of your hard disks and memory.

You should also check the antivirus software is configured to:

  • Run every time your computer starts.
  • Run in the background.
  • Scan floppy disks.
  • Scan all download files.
  • Scan all emails and attachments.
  • Automatically check for and install updates.

Important tip:

Always check your software is being updated. Most current Antivirus programs automatically update in the background while you use the Internet. Ensure that automatic update is active and the updates come through regularly. Around 200 new viruses are detected each month, so it is extremely important to keep your antivirus software current.

Find out more about Viruses at the Optus Learning Centre.



What is spam?

"Spam" is unwanted and unsolicited junk email on the Internet that may include sexual or offensive content.

FREE Optus Email Spam Filtering

Try Optus Email's FREE Spam Filtering tool and discover other tips for protecting your email from unwanted messages.

How does the Optus Email Spam Filter work?

The Optus Email Spam Filter has been designed to protect you and your family from receiving Spam or unsolicited commercial email.

The Spam Filter will check your email as it arrives at your mailbox on the Optus mail systems. If the email is identified as looking like Spam then the email will be moved to a separate Spam Folder.

The Spam Filter uses both detailed statistical analysis and a constantly updated "blacklist" to sort out unwanted messages. It provides you with an effective way of minimising the volume of spam that you receive.

It's very simple to use. To activate or deactivate the Spam Filter you need only login to the Spam Filtering page using your Optus username and password, then agree to the terms.

When activated, email that you receive is automatically filtered to remove as much spam as possible before it gets to your Inbox.

The mail which has been filtered is placed in a Spam Folder which you will find listed with your other mail folders in Webmail. If you wish, you can view the contents of your Spam Folder and sift through the contents, to ensure that the filtering process has not moved a non-spam message there. The Spam Folder will be automatically emptied after 14 days.

More information

More information on spam, how to stop it and how to make a complaint about it.

For tips on how to protect yourself against spam and minimise your chances of receiving spam, see the Australian Communications and Media Authority website.