Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys
We want to believe that the Internet is a safe place, but the reality is that it is a dangerous place where we can become easy targets for malicious actors who want to steal our most valuable personal data. These days criminal minds can reach further than before, into our private lives, our homes and work offices. People are seldom aware of how their personal information is used, collected and shared in a digital society. It is therefore important that we learn how to secure our personal information and "own" our online presence.
In our daily lives we produce an endless stream of data and conduct much of our lives on the Internet via our connected devices, such as smart phones, tablets and notebooks. Unfortunately, few people understand how much of our personal information is being collected and shared from our devices and the services we use online. Manfra (2018) explains that information such as purchases, history or location, has value, similar to money and urges people to be careful of who gets hold of information and how it is collected through Apps and websites. As this collected data can be stored indefinitely, our personal information can be used in both beneficial and unwelcome ways.
In the age of hashtags, likes, tweets, shares and snaps, online privacy can seem almost non-existent. We are sharing our lives through social media now more than ever (www.suncorp.com.au/learn about/security/online privacy.html) and in doing so we are voluntarily handing over a lot of personal information. But we must consider what it reveals, who might see it and how it could be perceived now and in the future. Therefore, it is important to pay special attention to online privacy. Manfra (2018) advises us that it is a good idea to review our social network friends and all contact lists from time to time to ensure that everyone still belongs. We are further advised to always set the privacy and security settings on websites and Apps to a level where one feels comfortable to share information. Each device, application or browser has different features to limit how and with whom we share information.
Be careful with Apps
Manfra (2018) argues that every device should be secured by a password or strong authentication such as finger swipe or facial recognition. Adhering to such security measures will limit access from unauthorised users and protect the user's information if devices are lost or stolen. It is also very important to delete unused Apps, update the ones you use and review App permissions. The same goes for other software and operating software to protect data loss from infections, malware and ransomware.