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Why online privacy is important

09 October 2017

In the age of hashtags, likes, tweets, shares and snaps, online privacy can seem almost non-existent. We're sharing our lives through social media now more than ever. If we're voluntarily handing over so much personal information, what's so important about online privacy?

Your personal and financial information is highly desirable to cyber criminals. With the theft of your identity, a cybercriminal may be able to access your banking details, obtain credit cards or loans and create a trail of credit rating destruction all in your name. Stay smart online by keeping your friends close and your information closer.

Protect your identity and personal privacy from theft

Your identity is extremely valuable. Being able to prove you are you is important for most aspects of life – from applying for a home loan to getting a passport. Having your identity stolen can compromise everyday activities and undermine your reputation, both privately and professionally. That's why it's extremely important to protect your personal privacy online. Here's how you can protect your online identity:

  • Ensure computer privacy with virus protection software
  • Use strong and unique passphrases or two-factor authentication
  • Be aware of scams like phishing scams and email scams, which attempt to collect your personal information, e.g. account and passphrase details
  • Be cautious about requests of personal information online. If something seems dodgy then it probably is
  • Be careful who you hand your private payment details over to. Only use a reputable payment method like a credit card on a secure site, and never email your credit card details to anyone.

Safeguard your business' online privacy from cyber crime

According to communications.gov, cyber crime cost Australian businesses $276,323 on average in 2015. With cyber security attacks affecting 33% of all Australian businesses. These attacks are both disruptive and costly, so it's paramount that your business maintains its online privacy through cyber attack prevention. Some simple preventative measures to protect your business online are:

  • Consider a cyber security awareness program to keep you and your staff informed about good online privacy practices
  • Create and protect strong passphrases for all online business accounts. Only hand over these passphrases to senior members of your organisation. This helps to avoid business information accidentally falling into the wrong hands
  • Ensure virus protection software is installed and up to date on all networked computers to protect your files and business information, including employee and customer databases.

Be aware of what you and your family put on social media

Social media is a great way to stay to share precious moments with friends and family. However, without the right precautions social media can be an avenue for cyber criminals to exploit your personal privacy and that of your family. Some precautions you can take to protect your identity are:

  • Limit the amount of personal information you publish on social media. For example, never display your address and personal phone number
  • Have a chat with your children about the potential dangers of sharing personal information on social media platforms. Some important things to discuss are:
    • Only share things with people you trust, i.e. friends and family
    • Images can be saved and shared elsewhere, so be careful when sending pictures of yourself, including explicit material.
  • Adjust your social media privacy settings so that you control what others can see on your profile. Most social media platforms have basic privacy settings and tools that can be easily configured.

Protecting your family from online fraud is just one of many reasons why online privacy is so important. Ensure your online privacy remains just that; keep your friends close and your information closer, discuss with your family the impacts of sharing personal images online, and review your social media privacy settings. All of these actions will make sure your social media profiles are locked down and that your online privacy is kept secure.

Explore these additional resources to learn more about online privacy, scams and how you can stay smart online.

Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product

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