Stay safe: be careful what you share

With so many websites out there asking for your information, we’re sharing more about ourselves than we ever have before.

But is this a good thing?

“More people are sharing information about themselves online, and sadly this is making them increasingly vulnerable to online fraud and identity theft,” says Stuart Strathdee, Chief Security Advisor for Microsoft Australia.

Social media addresses like Facebook and MySpace may have started the trend, but with more places than ever asking for your information, it’s always worthwhile being just a little bit careful.

“Online criminals are becoming extremely sophisticated, but there are some simple steps you can take to increase your protection. Most importantly, be careful what you share online,” says Mr. Strathdee. “Try using your nickname or leaving out your middle name on social media sites and don’t include information unless it’s compulsory.”

But even if you’re careful, sometimes you can just land on the wrong sort of website.

We’ve all heard it from a friend of a friend, or maybe on the news. The webpage looked authentic enough, even though it was missing something, so the person entered their details assuming all would be ok.

A few months later, money was missing from their bank account.

“Typically the bad websites are the ones ‘off the beaten track’,” says Richard Clooke from internet security company PC Tools. “A general rule to follow is if you are redirected to a site with a strange web address that you weren’t intending to go to, the site throws up a lot of unprompted command windows asking you for information or the layout has loads of typos and looks like it was a cut and paste job then you’re on a bad website.”