More Than 6 million Australian Adults Had Their Personal Data Stolen in This Past Year

If you’ve had personal data (such as your driver’s license number or your home address) stolen, you’re not alone. In the past year, at least one in three Australian adults have had personal data stolen.

The Australian National University (ANU) surveyed a group of Australians and found that more than 6 million people had been exposed to data breaches.

Professor Nichol Biddle, co-author of ANU’s study, explains that cyberattacks (or “cybercrime”) are one of the fastest growing types of crime in Australia.

High-profile data breaches, including the recent Optus and Medibank hacking incidents, have been all over the news. However, many more Aussies are unaware that they’ve had their data stolen. As a result, according to Professor Biddle, the real figure is almost certainly much higher.

Australians are unsure as to how to proceed. How do you respond when you’ve received a data breach notification? How do you work on rebuilding trust after your data has been stolen?

Responding to a data breach

  1. You should act quickly when you are notified by the organisation or agency of the data breach. For any information on the breach, you should contact the organisation or agency directly.
  2. Keep records of any actions you take or help you get – this may help if you experience any harm as a result.
  3. If you’re experiencing any distress, you can reach out to any of these support services, or speak with friends or family.

Moving Forward and Reducing Risk

  1. Change your passwords. We recommend strong passwords that you don’t use for any other accounts.
  2. Learn how to spot a scam via email – Scamwatch has tips for this, including clues for spotting a fake email.
  3. Don’t share personal information on phone calls until you’re absolutely certain who you’re on the phone with. If you are unsure, you can always hang up and call the organisation back on the number that’s listed on their website.
  4. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has information about staying safe and what action you can take – click here to find out more.

If you’re interested in learning more about scams, you can read our piece on cryptocurrency scams and how we’re using two-factor authentication to stay safer online.