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Australia had the highest data breach density in the world in the last quarter of 2022. What this means for you.

Cristina POPOV

February 27, 2023

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Australia had the highest data breach density in the world in the last quarter of 2022. What this means for you.

Australia has suffered more data breaches than any other country in the world over the past quarter, according to reports from late 2022. That's a worrying trend –the exposure of personal data can affect victims months or even years after a breach. Regardless of the company involved, the result is that your sensitive information can end up used in scams ranging from identity theft to banking fraud.

Major breaches of the last 2022 quarter

Optus, the telecoms giant, exposed the personal data of 10 million customers.

Medibank, one of Australia's largest private health insurance providers, was hit by a data breach in October. Customers find out they're caught up in it months after the cyberattack.

Fire Rescue Victoria, a major firefighting service in the Australian state of Victoria, has allegedly lost troves of sensitive data to ransomware operators. The data included full names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, health information, and sensitive information such as sexual orientation, race, religion, employment history, bank account details, government-issued identity information, driver's license details, passport details, tax file numbers and more.

The likely impact of a data breach on you

The worst someone can do upon finding your personal information is to use it to rip you off.

A thief could:

  • Empty your retirement, savings, or day-to-day account.
  • Open new credit cards or other lines of credit in your name
  • Make purchases using your cards
  • File a tax return using your identity card details
  • Access your medical records, benefit from your insurance, obtain care, medical treatments, or prescriptions in your name

Take ownership of the digital you

In response to breaches, the Australian government passed a Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill in November 2022, which resembles the EU's GDPR. By raising the maximum penalty that can be administered from AU$ 2.22 million to AU$ 50 million, authorities hope to encourage businesses to better protect the data they collect.

When you'd rather protect your online privacy yourself than wait for others to do it for you, it’s worth knowing where to start and how to do it.

For strong passwords: Bitdefender Password Manager

Weak passwords are open doors to your online accounts. You have two options: create strong, unique passwords and remember them, or use a Password Manager that generates unhackable passwords and stores them for you. In either case, strong passwords and multi–factor authentication are the basics of a safe account.

For secure, anonymous browsing: Bitdefender VPN

Encrypting your traffic adds the extra layer of protection you need when connecting to public WiFi. The best thing about using a VPN is that encrypting and redirecting your traffic keeps your online identity and activities safe from hackers, ISPs and snoops.

To stay on top of breaches - Digital Identity Protection

This dedicated identity protection solution lets you know immediately if your data has been exposed in a breach. Instead of finding out about it from a press release, you know instantly what happened and you learn what to do next to minimize risks by following easy 1-click action items. Moreover, you can easily sniff out potential social media impersonators who may ruin your online reputation and livelihood.

Or you can check out our new plan Bitdefender Premium Security Plus, a complete security solution for your devices, digital identity and privacy.



Cristina POPOV

Cristina is a freelance writer and a mother of two living in Denmark. Her 15 years experience in communication includes developing content for tv, online, mobile apps, and a chatbot.

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