Daily Life

5 ways you may be jeopardising your online privacy

These rookie errors could be costing you your online safety.

By BTYB Norton
From streaming a new series to booking a family holiday and keeping in touch with long-distance friends, the Internet has improved life by leaps and bounds.
Despite the many perks, the Internet also has its downfalls. Unfortunately the online world is lurking with threats that could compromise you and your family's online safety.
A recent study from Norton revealed that 67 per cent of Australians have been targeted by a cybercrime and that 78 per cent are worried about online identity theft as a result of cybercrime.
The stats are alarmingly high and the reason being, many Australians are not taking enough caution when it comes to their online activity.
Afraid you might fall victim to a cybercrime? We have identified five common mistakes people make online that could be jeopardising your online privacy.

1. You use the same password for all your online accounts (and haven't changed it in years)

Forgetting your password is an annoying realisation you've likely experienced at least once, if not hundreds of times, before. Between email, banking and social media accounts, it's easy enough to do!
As a result, you probably toggle between a few passwords for your online accounts and you don't update them regularly. However, this approach to passwords could actually be compromising your online safety.
If you're due for a password update, it's a smart decision to create one that uses a combination of numbers, letters and symbols as this makes your passwords harder to crack. Try to update passwords every few months and if you notice any strange activity or suspicious logins from your accounts, update your password immediately.
Keeping a hard copy of your passwords can seriously compromise your online safety – particularly if it falls in the wrong hands! (Image: Getty Images)

2. You don't have antivirus software installed on your devices

You may have heard the myths floating around about antivirus software – it makes devices unstable and it's unnecessary for Mac computers – but the truth is, antivirus software is one of the easiest and most effective ways to safeguard your online information.
While personal laptops and tablets have the highest protection across personal devices, mobiles – the most commonly used device amongst Australians – are actually the most vulnerable to online hackers and viruses unless they are installed with antivirus software.
If you don't already have an antivirus program installed on your mobile or laptop, it might be time to consider investing in one. There are many downloads available on the market, but Norton Security Premium is a top pick. Available across Windows, Mac and Android, the program protects against viruses, spyware and other online threats, plus, it automatically backs up all of your personal information.
The best bit? It can be installed across multiple devices, so you can protect your kids from unsafe online content too.

3. You access your personal online accounts on public WiFi

Coming to the end of your monthly data limit is always a struggle, so there's nothing better than finding public WiFi hotspots to keep you connected.
However, if you're using public WiFi to access your personal online accounts, in particular banking accounts, you could be putting your privacy and finances at risk – even if that public WiFi zone is located in your office!
If you are connected to public WiFi, remember to never log into your banking account, avoid sending or sharing your personal details and don't make any online purchases. By doing this, you could become one of the 49 per cent of Australians who have been affected by a mobile/phone scam.
Using public WiFi to access your online banking and social media accounts can be detrimental to things such as your finances and private information. (Image: Getty Images)

4. You fall hard and fast for online scams

If you think that online scammers only exist in the depths of your Spam email inbox, think again. Unfortunately, online scammers have become increasingly more sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details, so you need to be more cautious than ever before.
According to recent stats, 42 per cent of Australians have been targeted by Australian Tax Office related scams; a pretty alarming amount especially considering tax time is around the corner!
The lesson here is never open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on suspicious links in attachments, even if they appear to be from a government trusted site. Also, when completing your tax return this year, only complete it through government authorised websites on a private network.

5. You haven’t checked your social media privacy settings

Social media has become an extension of everyday life and as a result, your social media accounts hold a lot of information about you.
While you may think it's harmless to be sharing your holiday destinations and private details on social media, it can actually leave you open to online hackers and identity fraud.
If you haven't done so since launching your Facebook or Instagram account, it might be worthwhile having a look into your privacy settings. One quick glance and you might be surprised by how much personal information of yours is visible to anyone on the Internet.
At the end of the day, it's up to you what you want to share publicly, but it's worth keeping things like your address and mobile number private.
Brought to you by Norton