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Cybercriminals don't take a break

There's no holiday in cyberspace - it's open 24/7 - even for cybercrime

During the holiday season many people take time off to spend with family and friends, but it doesn't mean cybercriminals have done the same.

Cybercriminals are always looking for easy targets and opportunities to steal personal information, especially during this time of the year when millions of online transactions are completed.

The best way to keep your information safe is to know who you are sharing your information with and how well it is protected.

While none of us can really know how seriously a company we transact with takes cyber security, there are a few steps you can take to satisfy yourself that you are only sharing your information with websites that value and protect that information.

One way to think about it is, 'would you leave your credit card on the shop counter and hope the shop looked after your card?' Of course you wouldn't. So why would you do the equivalent in cyberspace?

It's really important that we all know the value of our information - be it personal information like our full name, date of birth, address or even credit card details.

This information identifies you and is tied to all sorts of other records and therefore you should be careful how you share it and who you share it with.

There's no doubt the ease and access of online shopping is brilliant. You can browse the stores of the world in the comfort of your own home and there's no need to even get out of your track suit pants.

However, when it comes to the online checkout and the details you give them, it's important to check the site encrypts personal information and credit card details. Reputable websites will encrypt these, but it's a good idea to always look to see if the site is encrypted by checking for a closed padlock shown on the top of the page.

Protecting your information is important both when online shopping but also with apps you sign up to.

Some apps may look great and offer a function or service you need, however before downloading them, it is important to check the App's terms and conditions. Some Apps want to use and share your personal data like contacts, location and camera and give it to third parties.

When this happens, you lose control of who has your information and worse still very private contact details about your contacts may be shared with a whole range of third parties. In the real world, it's like leaving your diary and address book on the bus.

You may think that this kind of information is publicly available and you are not sharing anything new but just like in the real world, it's important you value and protect your information.

We all must take responsibility for our valuable information and who we share it with - we won't always know how it's going to be stored, used, or aggregated by who you share it with.

Cyberspace presents a world of brilliant opportunity and online shopping is just one of them but keep your real world common sense when venturing into online shopping wonderland.

For more security insights go to Telstra Exchange.

Read more of security thought leadership blogs.