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.auCheck: A free website and email security check tool

Today, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), in collaboration with the .au Domain Administration (auDA), is launching '.auCheck': a free tool that helps users check their website, email and internet connection for use of the latest and most secure internet standards.

Standards form the technical heart of the internet and are fundamental to the security, reliability and resilience of websites and email communication. As these standards develop over time, it is crucial to remain up-to-date.

Checking if a website and email are set up correctly can be quite difficult; that’s why .auCheck was created. Its aim is to empower users, in particular Australian small businesses, to ask the right questions and choose the right level of services from their providers, including adequate security settings.

.auCheck will enable users to have an informed discussion with their IT support, internet service provider, domain registrar, web hosting company or IT contractor to improve the security standards of their website, email or internet connection and facilitate the adoption of best practice internet standards.

Standards that are checked by the .auCheck tool include:

  • Encryption methods (to ensure the secure transfer of information over the Internet);
  • Ways to authenticate website and mail servers (to ensure internet users are dealing with genuine website and email accounts);
  • Security of domain names (to allow domain names to be verified);
  • Security of website applications (to prevent insertion of malicious code or unauthorised access);
  • Protection against phishing through email from fake accounts.

Following the test, .auCheck offers users advice on additional steps they can take to bring their website and email domains up-to-standard.

Fergus Hanson, Director of ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre, believes .auCheck will be a valuable practical contribution to the work Australian governments, industry and internet organisations are already doing to raise awareness of the need to be cyber secure.

'We hope .auCheck will give Australian businesses practical advice to improve the security and reliability of their online presence. The tool also empowers every Australian to check for themselves the security of the websites they visit.

'The idea for .auCheck came from discussions with international partners in the UK and the Netherlands who pioneered similar tools. We’re very grateful to the Dutch Internet Standards Platform and for the support of auDA which allowed us to develop .auCheck in a way that fits the Australian context.'

auDA CEO Rosemary Sinclair AM said auDA was pleased to support the development of .auCheck, noting the tool will provide Australian small businesses and consumers with information to empower them, boosting their online confidence and uplifting security standards by working with their IT support professionals.

'auDA research shows cyber security is the top concern among Australian internet users. However, many Australian internet users and small business owners are unsure where to find trusted information and advice on cyber security. The .auCheck tool provides a free, independent and plain language assessment of online security standards, and will help empower users to be more confident managing their cyber security.'

Over time, the aggregated test results will deliver an understanding of the security standards being used by individuals, businesses and organisations in Australia.

You can access .auCheck here