Defend your digital life: Simple ways to protect your online data

It seems like every other week there’s another cyber-attack, data breach, or hacking incident in Australia, releasing our highly sensitive financial, medical, and other personal information onto the dark web. It’s a scary thought!

Although we have limited control over how third parties handle our personal details, there are some simple things we can all put in place to best protect our data online.

Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA is a security measure that requires two or more proofs of identity to grant access to an account. For example, when logging into a PayPal or Facebook account, you’ll receive a notification via your selected choice of SMS, email, pin number etc. to confirm that it was you who was accessing it. This means that if someone does gain access to your pin or password, they’ll still need other forms of identity to log in. If it’s an online account, we recommend having this enabled.


As tempting as it is to use the same password across all of your accounts, or the classic variations of the word ‘Password’, it makes us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks if they’re cracked. Best practice is to create complex passwords that are different for each platform which you can keep track of by using a trustworthy application such as 1Password or Bitwarden.


Don’t recognise the sender? Approach with caution. Phishing and spam emails can often look like they’re from a legitimate source, even pretending to be from your friends and family! They can include links that when clicked, can have you reveal passwords and personal information. If there’s a link in an email that you’re not sure about, it’s best not to click.


Regularly updating your devices and software means they will have the most recent security upgrades to protect you. Hackers look for weaknesses in systems, so setting up auto updates is an easy way to make sure you’re less susceptible to attacks.

Anti-virus software

Protect your computer from malicious software, viruses, and malware with an effective anti-virus solution. This software will run regular scans on your device, preventing and removing any viruses that try to infect your computer. There are plenty of options to choose from, so research what’s available or consult an IT professional for their recommendations.

Stay up to date

Keeping in the loop with the latest news about your subscriptions, providers and other services means that if a security breach happens, you can minimise any potential problems by immediately updating your passwords.

If you do find yourself a victim of a cyber-attack or would like to know more about how to protect your devices and accounts, visit the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

The material on this website has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained on this website is General Advice and does not take into account any person's particular investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs. Before making an investment decision based on this advice you should consider, with or without the assistance of a securities adviser, whether it is appropriate to your particular investment needs, objectives and financial circumstances. In addition, the examples provided on this website are provided for illustrative purposes only. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this website, Infocus, its officers, representatives, employees and agents disclaim all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded), for any error, inaccuracy in, or omission from the information contained in this website or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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