0 Comments |  Legal matters |  PRINT | 

Aussies in the dark over cyber security: Seven top tips to follow

Monday, 20 May 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

PayPal has issued some top tips for sharing information safely online after a report revealed more than half of Australians are unsure how many websites hold their personal information.


PayPal recently surveyed 1,000 Australian consumers who own a desktop or laptop as well as a smartphone or mobile device.


More than half (55%) of the survey respondents said they were unsure how many websites hold their personal information, while almost a third (32%) said they were unsure how to recognise a scam or a risky website.


More than two thirds (67%) of respondents are comfortable entering their personal details online but still do not have the knowledge necessary to secure their personal information.


Nearly one in four (23%) said they, or someone they know, has had their details stolen online.


Meanwhile, one in five (19%) said they have or know someone who has fallen victim to an online scam or had their money stolen. Of these, a third were unable to get their money back.


The findings come as the government kicks off National Cyber Security Awareness Week, which aims to help individuals and businesses protect their personal and financial information online.


PayPal spokesperson Adrian Christie says Australians have become more comfortable shopping and connecting online but are often unaware of the size and impact of their “digital footprint”.


“Our research found that 75% of Australians surveyed said they were concerned about the amount of information they share online,” Christie says.


“Yet we are seeing a strong disconnect between what consumers know and what they think they know.”


According to the survey, 81% of Australians have a log-in for a social networking site but only 27% believe that, in doing so, they are sharing personal information.


Additionally, 95% of respondents said they have a log-in for their email accounts but only 43% thought they were sharing personal information as a result of doing so.


As with consumers, Christie says it’s important for businesses to look at their digital footprint.


“Are they using good passwords when it comes to protecting the backend of their system and how are they protecting information they’re creating?” Christie says.


“As people share information among two or three people, and staff move on to other jobs, it’s important to have an idea of who has access to what and change passwords on a regular basis.


“For a business I suggest maybe once a quarter, so every three months changing those passwords.”


PayPal, in conjunction with the Centre for Internet Security, has issued some tips for sharing information safety online:


  1. Audit, audit, audit


Complete an audit of where your details are held online and cull anything that is unnecessary. Remove yourself from old mailing lists.


  1. Think twice


Always think twice before entering details online. When you do, make sure your privacy settings are activated on social networking sites.


  1. Read the terms and conditions


Read the terms and conditions and privacy policies available on sites before entering your details so you understand how your details will be used and shared.


  1. Use trusted sites and platforms


Use trusted sites and platforms when transacting online. Also, research suppliers by looking up customer reviews online before you create an account with them.


  1. Know how you’re connected


Try to use a secure network when connecting on a mobile device and be wary of free WiFi. Look for the padlock icon on sites before entering your financial information.


  1. Beware of phishing emails


Be wary of clicking on links in emails to log into your online accounts. When in doubt, always open a new browser and type in the URL of the company’s website and then enter your personal information.


  1. Watch out for duplicate applications or websites


Cyber criminals take advantage of trusted brands by creating free applications or websites that mimic the company’s official pages.


If you’re unsure, always download the application directly from the company’s website and carefully check URLs before entering your personal information.