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Are you at risk of being embarrassed online?

We all have skeletons in our closet, and the risk of having embarrassing personal information or sensitive business data leaked and posted online is higher than we may think.

According to new survey data by online security company McAfee, although most Australians are conscious of their internet security, as a nation we continue to make rookie mistakes.

Passwords is a particular weak spot – some 30 per cent of 18-54 year olds still do not use password protection on their smartphones, making their personal information easily accessible if the phone is lost or stolen.

People in relationships are also particularly vulnerable simply because of the high level of trust they place in their partner. More than a third (38 per cent) of the people surveyed have sent intimate messages, sexts, photos or emails to somebody else, and 98 per cent of the senders trust the recipient not to share them online.

Robert Siciliano, identity theft expert and consultant at McAfee said there is such a thing as being ‘too trusting’.

“There was a day when a “promise ring” was the most significant sign of commitment to a relationship. Now it’s sharing passwords and intimate digital photos,” Siciliano said.

However, 13 per cent of Australians have had that trust betrayed and have had their personal content leaked online without permission.

The chances of having sensitive content posted online are also higher because people do not regularly erase the content they receive. Nearly half of people who have received intimate content on their mobile device have chosen to keep it.

Siciliano also pointed out that when relationships end, they often don’t end well, meaning shared passwords are in the hands of someone that no longer likes you.

To mitigate these risks McAfee advises people to not store personal or important information on phones, always think twice before they hit ‘send’ and to use password protection on all devices.

No two accounts should have the same password. Especially critical accounts such as social, finance and email. Adding a variation to a frequently used password like an additional number or letter makes it easier.

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Peter Godfrey

Peter Godfrey

Peter is an intern at Dynamic Business. He has a passion for business news and reporting. In his free time he collects techno records and follows the cricket religiously.

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