Giving away private and personal information should always be treated with caution, especially when considering that identity threats have risen to 966 reports this January alone. It isn’t entirely up to the consumer to be diligent: legitimate companies that customers lend their information to must assure and provide security for any personal data received.
Such was not the case with foreign energy giant Alinta Energy, with reports claiming that the energy company did not have the proper systems to protect sensitive customer information. The leaked documents showed proof that the company’s privacy systems are inadequate. Companies must have appropriate security systems to protect customer information in case of cyberattack risks. One such risk of a cyberattack is the misuse of customers’ private information.
Alinta Energy’s retail operations collect personal information from their customers, often including: names, birthdates, addresses, mobile numbers, driver’s licence number, bank account and credit card details. In many cases, more data would exist, particularly in relation to their account with the company. A spokesperson for Alinta Energy said that they took “compliance with privacy laws seriously,” with their customer data stored at “secured data centres in Australia.” Alinta Energy is currently engaging with the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to implement remedial activities to prioritise data security.
In light of Alinta Energy’s privacy breach, everyone should take precautions when dealing with the dissemination of your private information to any company.
You should always keep these best practices in mind:
- When signing up for an online account, choose a vague username. Avoid giving out personal information, like your full name, address, or even your birthdate, to avoid compromise. The less specific the information you give, the better.
- Enable strong privacy controls on your online accounts. Make sure that your online accounts are secured. For complete assurance you should enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to avoid hacks.
- Be aware of any significant online data breach. It’s essential to always be on alert when it comes to security issues, especially data breaches. You should continuously be updated on the news found online or through newspapers, regarding this and take active steps to remediate and provide solutions for prevention.
- Use strong passwords. One of the primary keys to keeping your accounts safe is to create strong passwords for your online security. Trend Micro Password Manager helps generate strong passwords for your accounts, and it can also keep your passwords safe from any hacker.
Companies bear responsibilities to keep your information safe from any cyberattacks, but we must personally also make sure that we have done the necessary steps to protect ourselves from any vulnerabilities.
If you or anybody you know have come across any scam, make sure to report it to Scamwatch here.