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Digital Essentials: Protect your personal information

Protect your personal information

What is personal identifiable information (PII)? 

Personally identifiable information (PII) is any data that can be used to identify a specific individual or person.

Some examples include:

  • Full name 
  • Date of birth 
  • Phone numbers 
  • Email addresses 
  • Home and work addresses
  • Usernames and passwords 
  • Bank details and credit cards

Personal identifiable information mindmap

 

General tips to protect your devices and personal information:

  • Use strong passwords
  • Use a password manager
  • Connect to trusted internet connections
  • Enable firewalls
  • Install anti-virus software
  • Set devices to lock automatically
  • Maintain updates to software
  • Don’t connect unknown USB devices
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  • Apply for a credit card (online) in your name
  • Obtain a loan and run up debts in your name
  • Access your personal finances
  • Apply for a driver's license
  • Register a mobile device (online)
  • Apply for a mobile phone contract in your name
  • Lease accommodation
  • Open an ISP (internet service provider) account

Why is this important? 

A strong password helps you: 

  • Keep your personal information safe 
  • Protect your emails, files, and other documents 
  • Stop someone else from accessing your accounts 

 

Creating a strong password: 

  1. It is a good idea to create your password between 12 and 20 characters.  
  2. Use a combination of words, letters, numbers and symbols that you can remember.  
  3. Make your password unique by:  
  • Using phrase/s important or memorable to you. 

Example: Life is like a box of chocolates → lilaboc 

  • Randomly replacing letters with upper case letter, lower case letters and symbols. 

Example: L1L@b0c 

  • Change it a little for different websites/systems 

Example: ECUL1L@b0c 

OR 

  1. Use a pass phrase, something you can remember but others will find hard to guess. 

Example: PurpleIceCream@637SleepSucce$$ 

 

  • Make sure your password is not connected to any personal information. 
  • The longer it is, the harder it is to crack with brute force attacks or other ways e.g. a 12 character password that contains numbers, upper and lower case letters, and symbols can take up to 5 million years to crack.  
  • It needs to be completely random in order for it to be a secure password. 

 

How long it takes to crack your password

How long it takes to crack your password table

Source: inetsolution.com

 

Tips  

  • Consider using a multi-factor authentication option together with a password. 
  • Use a password manager (like LastPass) to create, share and remember complex passwords. 
  • Use a different password for each account particularly your email and banking accounts. 
  • Never write down your passwords. 
  • Never share your passwords. 
  • Always change default passwords on any device to a unique password. 
  • Don’t save passwords in your browser. This may save you time and effort but any one that can access your device can now access your online accounts – bank accounts, email accounts social media accounts, etc. 
  • Use trustworthy or secure sites with ‘https://’ in the website address and a locked padlock icon in the browser. 
  • Turn off or delete the ‘cookies’ on your browser. Some advertisers are able to track your browsing history through cookies and others can use cookies to find out where you have visited online.
  • Always install the recommended updates and security patches on your device. 
  • Always check the privacy and security settings on your device regularly, especially after installing app updates to see if your settings have been changed without your knowledge. 
  • Uninstall apps on your device that you no longer use. If you have registered an email address and any other personal information, then make sure to delete the account as well. 
  • Always log out of financial (bank) apps when you finish using them.

  • Set a password, PIN, passcode, pattern or fingerprint security to unlock the device. Don’t forget to set your device to automatically lock. It is also a good idea to put PINs on your SIM card and voicemail for extra security.
  • Install reputable security software that includes antivirus and anti-theft/loss protection. Only install apps from official app stores and do not 'jailbreak' your device as this will remove your device's security protections.
  • Automatically update and install new app and operating system updates as soon as they are available.
  • Set the device to require a password before apps are installed. This will prevent unauthorised modifications to the device.
  • Turn the Bluetooth off or turn your device's visibility off (hidden) when you are not using it.
  • Stop your devices from automatically connecting to new networks without your permission.
  • Keep a record of the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) of your handset. Your IMEI is a 15 or 17 digit number often printed on a label under the battery or found in the settings under general information about your device. If your device is lost or stolen, report this number to your provider and they can stop the handset from being used.
  • Enable the remote locking and/or wiping functions, if your device supports them.

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References

Commonwealth of Australia. (2018). Mobiles and tablets. https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/protect-yourself/protect-your-stuff/mobiles-and-tablets

eSafety Commissioner. (n.d.). Protect your personal information. https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/how-to/protect-personal-information