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Australian Information Commissioner encourages cybersecurity awareness

Australian Information Commissioner, Professor John McMillan today encouraged all Australians to take steps to protect their personal information during National Cybersecurity Awareness Week 2012 [dead link:] (12 June to 15 June 2012).

“Everyone should take the time to protect their personal information. Check the privacy settings on your mobile and social networking sites to make sure your personal information is protected and to reduce the likelihood that someone might take advantage of it,” Professor McMillan said.

Online privacy breaches can occur through “hacking”, viruses or more simply from a lost or stolen laptop or portable device. 

“Create strong passwords, change them regularly and think about what personal information you are storing on your mobile or computer. Be careful about what you post online because once your privacy has been breached it is almost impossible to get back,” Professor McMillan added.

With data breaches on the rise, businesses also have a responsibility to protect the personal information they hold about their customers or risk having their reputation tarnished.

“Every business should invest in the best security systems and privacy enhancing technologies available to protect customer privacy. When collecting personal information in your business, ask yourself whether the collection is necessary and carefully consider how the information is stored and for how long,” Professor McMillan said.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s revised publication Data breach notification: A guide to handling personal information security breaches outlines four steps for businesses to consider when responding to a data breach. The guide also outlines preventative measures that should be taken as part of a comprehensive information security plan.

“While data breach notification is not a mandatory requirement of the Privacy Act, there are benefits to organisations that voluntarily choose to notify the OAIC,” Professor McMillan said.

“We can work with them to resolve issues quickly and help them contain a breach. This can help mitigate further harm to affected individuals.”

For further information please contact Ms Leila Daniels     0407 663 968

Also see the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s 10 steps to protect your personal information.

Background information

National Cybersecurity Awareness Week is an Australian Government initiative, held annually in partnership with industry, community and consumer groups and state and territory governments. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is a partner.