Some people attempt to obtain private information by hacking into computer systems. Once a hacker has valid access to a system they can detect bugs in the system and use these bugs to gain deeper access to that system.

Password and general security

You can secure your computer and accounts by:

  • choosing a good password: a mix of uppercase/lowercase, numbers and characters, and multiple words in a string all increase password strength
  • choosing different passwords for your most important accounts i.e. QUT, banking, email, facebook
  • being aware of spyware
  • keeping software up to date
  • installing a personal firewall and virus protection
  • ensuring the physical security of your computer: remember this also when studying in the library!
  • being suspicious of emails requesting account details: if unsure phone the institution where the account is held for verification

For more information see Information Security.

Identity security and social media

With the rise of social media, there has been much criticism of the use of private data by companies such as Facebook. When using social media, make sure you adjust the security settings

  • Set your profile to private so it is not publically available
  • Consider limiting the viewing options of some friends: for example, younger members of family or coworkers

As social media is constantly evolving, make sure you check the privacy settings for the most up to date information. The settings of your profile may reset automatically when updates are made to the social media platform, so check your settings regularly. A quick security quiz from a number of advocacy groups is available on Facebook.

Search engines often receive criticism for their tracking and usage of user search data. Duck Duck Go is an alternative search engine that pledges not to compromise the security and privacy of its users.