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Recent media releases • Cyber security

Take care not to overshare

Published 22 December 2020

The Australian Digital Health Agency is urging people heading into the festive season to be wary about over-sharing on social media because it can compromise cyber and personal safety.

Australians when socialising often use social media to let family and friends know what they are doing. While enjoying yourself is great for wellbeing, it is important to remember not to let your guard down and share too much information. Healthcare professionals should be aware of this risk, particularly given the attention the healthcare sector has received this year.

Posting photos of work Christmas parties and professional network end of year drinks may seem like a good idea at the time.

There are pitfalls as you could inadvertently tag your whereabouts, flag your interest with particular organisations or share sensitive information, such as details visible in the background of photos.

Once posted, this information is often publicly available and may result in a breach of privacy or could be used by cyber criminals to develop a future scam or cyber attack targeted at you or your organisation.

Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said: “Everyone should be mindful of the pitfalls of oversharing on social media this festive season, whether it is in a personal or professional capacity.

“In particular, people who work in healthcare should take care to ensure they continue to protect the confidentiality of health information and don’t inadvertently share sensitive information.”

When using social media for work purposes, make sure you follow your organisation’s social media policies, review guidelines from relevant professional associations such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and ensure you comply with relevant privacy legislation.

In addition, the following tips can help you to use social media safely:

  • Use different passwords for your different social media accounts;
  • Avoid accepting social media connection requests from people you don’t know;
  • Manage your privacy settings on personal and professional networking sites;
  • Review information about you online and take action to manage your digital footprint; and
  • Avoid oversharing your personal views and information.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) recently released a security awareness campaign, ‘Think before you link’, which highlights the need to be mindful of the personal information you choose to post online.

Posting too much personal information could potentially make you a target, particularly if your work brings you into contact with confidential or sensitive information. Approaches through professional networks or direct emails to your personal accounts are a concern, since they may bypass the security controls that organisations have in place to block malicious or suspicious emails.

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Media Team
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About the Australian Digital Health Agency

When it comes to improving the health of all Australians, the role of digital innovation and connection is a vital part of a modern, accessible healthcare system. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, digital health has seen exponential growth in relevance and importance, making it more pertinent than ever for all Australians and healthcare providers.

Better patient healthcare and health outcomes are possible when you have a health infrastructure that can be safely accessed, easily used and responsibly shared.

To achieve this, the National Digital Health Strategy is establishing the foundations for a sustainable health system that constantly improves. It underpins and coordinates work that is already happening between governments, healthcare providers, consumers, innovators and the technology industry.

For further information: www.digitalhealth.gov.au.

The Australian Digital Health Agency is a statutory authority in the form of a corporate Commonwealth entity.

Media release - Take care not to overshare (PDF, 212 KB)

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