Protecting your data and information
We have a range of technologies and a team of fraud specialists that work around the clock to keep your data and information secure. But it’s also important that you do a few things to protect yourself.
Having a strong password is an important part of keeping your accounts secure and protecting your data. Here are a few simple tips to think about when creating a password:
Setting a strong password
- Don’t use personal information (e.g. date of birth, spouse or child name) as a password.
- Don’t use easily recognisable numbers as a password.
- Don’t use the word ‘password’ or other commonly used passwords (e.g. ‘qwerty’, ‘123456’, ‘football’).
- Use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols when creating a password.
- Always use a long password (e.g. at least 10 characters).
- Try using three completely random words or modifying easy to remember phrases when creating a password.
Don’t write passwords down or share them
Never write your passwords down, whether it’s in your mobile phone or on a note pad. If they get into the wrong hands it could put your account at risk.
Never share your password, even with close friends or family members
Never disclose your password to anyone over a phone call, email or SMS.
Change your password regularly
Changing your password every few months means if someone does find out what it is, they won’t be able to access your account for a long period of time.
Use a different password for each of your accounts
Using the same password means that if a fraudster finds out the password for your email account for example, they might be able to use the same login to access other accounts. Having different passwords makes hacking your accounts much more difficult for fraudsters.
You can install a password manager on your computer, smartphone or tablet. Password managers are programs that remember passwords for you, along with the email address or other user identifier you use for each account. They create random, long, and different passwords for every one of your accounts. And some password managers will even sync across your devices.
The downside is that if your password manager gets hacked, all of your information is accessible, and you will be liable. So, make sure you assess your personal risk to determine which passwords you’re comfortable storing in a password manager.
Check your exposure
- You can check if your credentials have been exposed in a data breach by visiting the website have i been pwned?. If they have been exposed change them immediately on all accounts that have the same password.
- If you are concerned that your personal information has been compromised and misused, you can contact Australia’s National Identity and Cyber Support Service IDCare or use their free Cyber First Aid Kit.
Where and when you access your personal data is important in keeping safe online.
Be careful using public Wi-Fi
It’s best to avoid using public Wi-Fi if you’re entering personal data. Because it’s public and people need to be able to access it easily, it can have lower levels of security. This makes it much simpler for fraudsters to access when compared to other connections.
Home Wi-Fi is more secure
The most secure Wi-Fi connection is usually the one you use at home. It’s normally encrypted and requires login details to access it. However, remember to change the default passwords set by the router manufacturer and change the network name so it can’t be easily traced to you.
Mobile data is more secure than public Wi-Fi
Using mobile data is a more secure way to connect to the internet from your phone than public Wi-Fi. This is because it uses data from your mobile provider, which is a more securely protected network. This makes it much more secure than public Wi-Fi if you’re dealing with personal data.
Data privacy on social media
Being careful about what you share on your public profile is another way you can protect yourself from fraudsters.
Think about what you share on social media sites
When posting a status, responding to a survey or sharing a photo, think ‘could this information help a fraudster?’ It might be that you’re giving away your mother’s maiden name, a pet’s name or your place of birth – information that’s often used in passwords or security questions.
Make use of privacy settings
Each social network has its own privacy settings. Make sure you know who can see your personal information by checking the settings for each account. Making these more secure will help you avoid sharing any personal information with fraudsters.
Protect your computer with anti-virus software
There are some viruses that collect your personal data for fraudsters to use. Having anti-virus software is one of the easiest ways to protect your data when using the internet.
Anti-virus software regularly scans your computer to make sure your security isn’t at risk and will alert you if there are any potential problems. Ensuring you have the right level of protection and keeping your anti-virus programme updated will help the software find any new viruses or security issues.