Data privacy: who knows too much about you and your business?

Data privacy: who knows too much about you and yo...

Individuals and businesses warned to focus on the safety and security of their online personals and data ahead of Data Privacy Day on Saturday 28 Jan.

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Press Release

Despite ‘big data’ increasing and identity fraud costing the UK £27 billion per year and affecting 1.8 million people*, T&Cs and privacy settings for social networks are rarely fully read and understood. Against this backdrop and ahead of Data Privacy Day (Saturday 28 Jan), individuals and businesses are being warned to focus on the safety and security of their online personals and data.

George Thompson, Director of Information Protection within KPMG’s Advisory Practice, comments: “The implications are vast as social media now has a place not only in the private, but also in the business world. According to a recent report, 80% of UK companies believe the use of social media delivers significant business returns which outweigh the risks of use, such as data manipulation and loss. Many companies are still holding off with their social media engagement as data manipulation may result in embarrassing situations for individuals, and also potentially damaging situations for businesses. Think about what would happen if a CEO’s Twitter account was hacked and the hackers disseminate false company news that have an impact on share price.”

However, these concerns do not need to have a negative impact on either the trust we have in website providers and in online confidence leading KPMG to offer three tips for individuals and businesses to spring-clean their privacy settings and boost protection:

  1. Make a list of all social networks you’ve registered with as an individual and/or employee and pick the one you’re most active on: with Facebook, thoroughly check the privacy settings. They’re quite complex so this will take some time, but it will make sure you avoid embarrassing or potentially damaging situations.
  2. Think about with whom you share information and who should have access to personal contact information. Check what access your social networks grant to other sites and networks: a Twitter account may be linked to third party applications which use the password to tweet or post to a Facebook account. Make sure you only authorise access to your social networks when you fully trust an application
  3. Change your passwords and do so every 6 months: use passwords that are difficult to hack, most hackers use a list of words to try and login to an account. An eight digit password with a combination of capitalised and lower case letters, numbers and symbols is far more difficult to crack as opposed to your partner’s first name. Also use a different password for each of your social networks, should one of your accounts be hacked this will not give hackers access to your other networks too.

Thompson concludes: “As a general rule, don’t give away too much information about yourself and about your business. The more data stored, the more damaging it can be in case the data is accessed unauthorised. If you trust the provider of a website make sure your personal information is only accessible to the people you have selected. It should only take 30 minutes to tackle these tips – but it’s an investment worth doing to make sure data is safe and remains private.”

- ENDS -

Media enquiries:

Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office


T: 020 7311 5271

M: 07917 384 576

Notes to Editors:

*Figure from Office of Cyber Security & Information Assurance in the Cabinet Office

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with nearly 11,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.6 billion in the year ended September 2010. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 150 countries and have more than 138,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.

KPMG International provides no client services.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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