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Don’t get caught out: protect your personal information online

11 February 2020

When surfing the web or shopping online it’s easy to relax and drop your guard, so this Safer Internet Day we’re sharing some tips for protecting your personal information online.

 

What is my personal information?

  • Your full name (including middle name)
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Banking information
  • School details
  • Information that might be used as a security detail on an online account, such as your mother’s maiden name, first make and model of car, your childhood pet and the name of the street/road you once lived on, etc.

 

 

How can I protect my personal information online?

 

Be password smart

Set strong passwords and regularly change them. Our post about the top passwords to avoid has some great tips for being password smart.

 

Don’t save password in browsers

While it’s convenient, saving passwords in your browser can give anyone with access to your computer, tablet or mobile access to the accounts you log in to. So avoid saving passwords in your browser. Alternative options are password managers, like LastPass.

 

Secure websites

If you do need to disclose personal information, for example you’re shopping online, only disclose financial information on secure websites. To see if a website is secure, check that the web address begins with https:// and that a locked padlock appears next to the web address (URL) or at the base of the browser window.

 

Be scam savvy

The ATO and your bank will never email you a link and ask you to log in via that link. You don’t have a relative overseas that wants to give you $5 million as long as you send them your bank details. You didn’t win 1 of 500 iPhones. And Australia Post doesn’t need you to transfer $200 to them to release your parcel from customs. Scammers try and use legitimate brand names to trick people into logging in via their own links or providing personal information.  If in doubt, check Scamwatch.

 

Don’t share what you don’t have to

Only enter the required information when completing online forms, ignore the optional sections.

 

Never disclose publicly

Never disclose your personal information on a public website, app or social media platform. Even when responding to a public post from a friend, business or group. If they publicly asked for you email or mobile – DM them that detail instead!

 

Always log out

Instead of just closing the browser, log out of websites once you’ve finished using them.

 

Treat public wi-fi as unsecure

Be in the habit of treating any hotspot as unsecured and only use secure public wi-fi hotspots where possible. Adjust the settings on your laptop, tablet or mobile so that connecting to hotspots is manual, not automatic. If you find that you use public wi-fi often, a VPN (virtual private network) can encrypt your data while you’re using the hotspot, increasing security, so consider using one.

 

Always update apps

Have apps on your tablet or mobile phone? Always run the app updates when they’re available and delete apps that you no longer use.

 

Don’t share info even when gaming

For avid online gamers, don’t share any of your personal information while gaming with others, including when multiplayer gaming, and beware of in-app scams that might be communicated from other players. eSafety has a guide that covers the latest games, apps and social media that you might find useful.

 

The list above might seem daunting, but really, it’s not. They’re simple steps that once you’re in the habit of doing, will become second nature so you’re not having to think about protecting your personal information it just becomes a normal and automatic part of browsing, shopping and interacting online.

 

 

What’s Safer Internet Day?

Safer Internet Day 2020

 

Safer Internet Day is a worldwide event that raises awareness about online safety and encourages everyone to help create a better internet.

 

Did you know you can report cyberbullying to eSafety, a government resource? The eSafety team can take action to get serious cyberbullying material removed, and provide advice, support and assistance.

 

If you are experiencing online abuse there are support groups and advice available via the eSafety website.

 

Related posts:

Are you a hacker’s dream? Top passwords to avoid

Back up your computer… why, what and when!

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