What Can I Do to Keep My Data Safe Online?

Hacked...... private information leaked. Hacked..... private information leaked. It's a never ending headline, and it will continue to be a never ending headline, because information is worth money. It's that simple. And the more valuable your information, the more of a target it becomes.

So it's a fact of life now. You literally have to trust the custodians of your personal data, and hope they are doing the right thing. That's scary when you consider how widespread your personal information is! But there are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of your personal information being stolen:

What can you do:

  • Provide the minimum amount of information you can to use the service. Do you actually have to store your credit card details on that website? If you don't have to, don't do it. e.g. For my mobile phone bills, I enter my credit card details every time, with the "on screen keyboard" (OSK, look it up!).
  • Delete (if you can) unused online accounts. Or at the very least, remove as much personal information as you can from your profile in that account.
  • Use different passwords for different sites. If your login details do get hacked, at least they can't be used elsewhere.
  • Use a password manager to manage your different passwords. Every single one of them should be in here, and there are some great options out there like KeyPass or LastPass.

What can they do?

If you have the opportunity, ask the company questions about how seriously they take IT security and privacy. The more companies get asked these questions, the more they are forced to realise that this is no longer optional. So ask questions like:

  • Do you have a privacy compliance program (e.g. http://privacyrisk.com.au/)?
  • Do you have an audit framework for determining cyber security health and improvement activities (e.g. www.cyberhealthinternational.com)?
  • Do you train your staff in how to identify and respond to IT security threats?
  • Do you have cyber breach insurance to help your company get through the recovery process, mandatory reporting and customer notification activities?

At the end of the day it's your data, it's valuable, it can be a nightmare if it gets into the wrong hands, so do what you can to protect it!

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