Protecting your privacy online
By Rosalie Shearer
Here at Rainbow Power Company, we do a number of things that may not be as obvious as our main purpose, which is to provide the community with great quality solar products and services. One of these lesser-known activities, that remains a vital part of our commitment to serving our community, is through maintaining high standards of privacy protection when handling the personal information of our valued customers and clients. In this digital age where more of our day-to-day lives are taking place online, for work, study, shopping and socialising, it is crucial for individuals to safeguard their personal information by prioritising good privacy practices, and deal with websites and organisations that they can trust to handle their personal details with integrity and care.
In conjunction with Privacy Awareness Week, which is an annual, international campaign that runs from 2 - 8 May 2022 which aims to raise awareness of the privacy rights of individuals, we wanted to share some practical tips that will empower you to take control of your personal information and establish healthy privacy habits.
1.) Protect your accounts by using strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, or passphrases when online. Even though it can be difficult to remember, it is important not to use the same password for all of your accounts. Make your passwords complex with a mix of upper- and lower-case characters and include numbers and symbols. Using a secure online password manager such as Bitwarden, can be a good way to keep track of all those complex passwords and store them safely in one place. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security measure that requires two or more proofs of identity to grant you access, typically a combination of something you know (pin or secret question), something you have (card or token), or something you are (fingerprint or other biometric). MFA offers significantly more powerful security and protection for your personal information. Passphrases are another great way to improve your cyber security and are made up of four or more random words. They are longer than a traditional password which makes them harder to guess but often people find them easier to remember.
2.) Beware of phishing! Phishing is a way that criminals try and steal your confidential information such as online banking logins, credit card details and other account passwords. They often pretend to be from a person or organisation you trust and send deceiving messages via email, SMS, instant messaging trying to lure you into their scam and give away your valuable personal information. If it seems unusual or out of the blue in any way, find an alternative way to contact the person or organisation and verify the source. If it feels fishy, it might be phishing.
3.) Use free Wi-Fi with caution and check to see if the site is secure before entering personal information. Most free public Wi-Fi networks have very few security measures in place, which means your activity could be easily accessed by others using the same network. You should wait until you're at home or on a secure password-protected network before you do things like online shopping with a credit card. Before entering personal information into a website, check the link in the address bar of your browser, and if it begins with https (as opposed to http), and a closed padlock symbol it means the site is secure. When shopping online always try to use a secure payment service like PayPal or BPay, or your credit card, and not debit cards or bank transfers as these are at greater risk of someone being able to hack your information.
4.) Finally, it may seem obvious but make sure you keep all your devices current with the latest software updates as these often include measures which help to keep your devices free from security holes. Seek out reputable anti-virus software that can detect and protect you from malware and spyware and perform regular backups so you don't lose your personal information if something goes wrong.
If you would like any more information about Cybersecurity or Privacy Protection, visit Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) or Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) for more great online privacy advice.