We’re living more and more of our lives online, which means we’re sharing more data about us online than ever before.
In the flurry of work emails, online collaboration tools, social media, web browsing, online shopping and more, it’s easy to lose sight of exactly of how much sensitive information about us is floating around online. Everything from our banking information to our home addresses is online in some form or the other, and might be vulnerable to misuse through identity fraud, phishing scams, data breaches or cyberattacks.
Data privacy is a shared responsibility, which means we also need to do our part to make sure our data stays as safe as possible.
That’s why Privacy Awareness Week, held between 3rd May and 9th May, is so important. Led by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) is an annual event that highlights the importance of protecting personal information. The theme for this year is about making privacy a priority.
Did you know that half of Australians don't know how to protect their personal information?
If you feel data privacy is an overwhelmingly complicated topic, you’re not alone. Almost 49% Aussies don’t know how to go about protecting their personal information online, and many feel they don’t have the time or the know-how to stay safe online. And yet in 2020, three in five Australians surveyed had experienced problems with how their personal information was handled.
Don’t leave your data privacy to chance
Contrary to popular belief, protecting your personal information online does not have to be a difficult or technical process. All it takes a little understanding about how certain habits open you up to risk, and following a few basic safety steps to manage them.
So let’s roll up our sleeves and get into the ‘how’ of making privacy a priority.
How to keep your personal information private
- Use multi-factor authentication and strong passphrases to make it difficult for hackers to get to your private information. Remember to update your passwords regularly.
- Update the privacy settings on your social media accounts, websites, tools and devices. A large number of leaks and hacks happen simply because someone hadn’t configured their privacy settings properly.
- Watch out for phishing scams. Any unexpected calls, emails or text with offers that are too good to be true, or making demands for sensitive information, or even making threats, are most likely a phishing scam. Stay calm and proceed with caution.
- Check who you are sharing your data with. Always ask about why, how and who before sharing your details.
- Talk about data privacy with your loved ones, including elders and children. They tend to be more vulnerable, so helping them understand why they need to be careful is important for their safety.
- Shop online on reputable sites only. Avoid dodgy or fake-looking sites, and sites with deals that are too good to be true. Make sure you use a secure, well-known payment method, and avoid making direct bank or money transfers.
- If your data is breached, act immediately. Change your login details and check your account statements for suspicious activity.