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5 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy

15 May 2018

The online world can be a paradise of convenience and entertainment. Everything is available at the click of a button. Never before have we been so connected. But beware: danger lurks within.

Here are 5 ways you can protect your privacy online.

1. Change your Passwords

Passwords are the keys to your online kingdom. Having good ones is critical to online security.

How to create good passwords calls for a whole article in itself, but here are the basics:

  • Longer is better.
  • Never use the same password on more than one account.
  • Don’t use common dictionary words, or family names.
  • Consider using a reputable password management tool.
  • Don’t mix your work and personal accounts.
  • Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible.

2. Should I really post that?

On the Internet, there is no such thing as ‘delete’.

Think about your content, and your audience, before you click Post. What would your friends and family think? What about your employer? or your future employer?

Many social media platforms have privacy settings that let you decide who gets to see what you post. Find out how to work the privacy settings on your device and your favourite social media apps.

3. Is this website secure?

Any website that handles sensitive data should use HTTPS. Look for HTTPS in the URL or the padlock icon in your browser.

With HTTPS, data travelling between your device and the website is encrypted. This makes it harder to read if someone intercepts the data in the middle. Without HTTPS, your information is transmitted in plain text - anyone who catches it can read it.

4. Updates, updates, updates!

Yes, the latest operating system update for your phone or computer can be a pain to install. But security patches and updates are designed to help keep your devices safe.

Outdated devices, software and operating systems can have serious security flaws. This can leave your personal data at risk.

5. Watch out for scams

Online scams are becoming more and more sophisticated and targeted. They can appear in any format: emails, phone calls, SMS, and social media.

Be vigilant and learn how to spot a scam:

  • Reputable business won’t ask for your password or other sensitive information by email, SMS or instant message.
  • Look out for bad grammar, poor spelling and dodgy email senders and bogus links (try hovering over the link without clicking).
  • Scammers often create a sense of ‘urgency’ to prevent you from thinking clearly. (Your account will be deleted in 12 hours if you don't respond now!!!)
  • If it’s too good to be true... it probably is.

If in doubt, call the company on a separate phone number to double-check, or ask a trusted friend.

This post is published in support of Privacy Awareness Week 2018. For more information on Privacy, visit privacy.gov.au.

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