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Weakness Exposed: Reported Privacy Breaches Rocket 600%

It’s 10pm. Do you know where your data is?

Are you sure?

With 16.5 million people impacted by data breaches in Australia over the past year, the odds that all your data is secure aren’t in your favour.

The news comes after companies supervising sensitive health, personal and financial data have told of an eruption of privacy breaches due to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytical scandal, AAP reports.

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Data breaches rise

On Monday, Australian Information Commissioner Angelene Falk stated that 1,132 business informed of local breaches in the year to 31 March, according to AAP. Juxtaposed to only 159 voluntary notifications in the 12 months prior.

It’s been just over a year since commonwealth laws changed, and forced medium to large companies to show when personal data was wrongly retrieved.

In the 1,132 breaches, around 16.5 million people were affected. This year there was one breach on data where over 10 million people were exposed.

Overall, the leading cause of data breaches was compromised credentials with 159 linked to phishing — people being tricked or lured into providing their username and password,’ Falk told a business breakfast in Sydney.

350 breaches were put down to human error. These include employees misplacing a hard drive or even emailing somebody’s file to a third-part, according to AAP.

The investigation into the data breach of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytical is in the advance stages.

Over 300,000 Australians affected

The breach affected over 300,000 Australians. This incident was one of three that Facebook had publicly acknowledged since March 2018.

Falk said that any data which included personal information is now the essence of the digital economy and continues to present new tests ‘about the way we operate’.

The intersection between consumer protection, privacy and data protection is increasingly relevant,’ Ms Falk told the breakfast.

The information commissioner stated that companies need to be prepared for data breaches. Businesses need to be aware of what personal information is on file and implement procedures on how to speak with affected customers.

Shelia FitzPatrick, a data privacy expert, believes too many companies still aren’t thinking about why they are gathering data and frequently incorrectly believe that smaller businesses won’t be targeted.

In the past six months, 13 very small companies have been sanctioned under (Europe’s data protection regulations),’ she said. ‘It’s not just the big companies.

PS: The Australian federal election is fast approaching, and we want to hear from you on what you think the results will be. Cast your vote in our election poll here.

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune is an unorthodox news service. Your Australian Tribune editorial team deliver the unfiltered stories that could impact your daily life — political and economic stories you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. And we’re not afraid to step on some toes to do it. We are honest, conservative and never dull. We are an independent service, meaning we don’t answer to shareholders or outside advertisers. This helps avoid conflicts of interest that inhibit mainstream sources, which keeps our voice independent. The Australian Tribune is owned and operated by Port Phillip Publishing.
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