Health, finance and legal sector data breaches

On 31 July 2018, the Australian Information Commissioner released a Notifiable Data Breaches report. The report showed the private health sector had the highest rate of data breach, followed by the finance sector and legal, accounting and management services.

The Notifiable Data Breach scheme commenced on 22 February 2018. It requires all businesses with Privacy Act obligations to report breaches. That includes most businesses with $3 million turnover. It also covers smaller businesses that provide health services, like doctors, pharmacists, naturopaths, chiropractors, gyms and weight loss clinics.

Breaches included contact details, financial details, identity information and Tax File Numbers. Most breaches occurred through a malicious attack.

"This reflects crime trends," said Jo Clay, CEO of Send and Shred, the secure destruction service for households and small businesses."Property theft is dropping, but fraud is increasing."

"Identity thieves often piece together a profile from multiple sources," Ms Clay said."This means even a small breach can be dangerous. You might take care of your own paperwork, but what about the people you do business with? Do your dentist, accountant, gym and masseuse have a system in place?"

The Notifiable Data Breaches report said theft of paperwork was a significant problem. This came as no surprise to Van Karas, GM of Shred-X.

"National Privacy Principles set strict requirements for shredding documents that should no longer be stored, but we've found many people stockpile paper in offices, homes and cars. That information could easily end up in the wrong hands”.

"A data breach can represent crippling direct and consequential damage for a business. It places your brand, reputation, employees and your customers at risk."

"The end of the financial year is a great time for a home office clear-out," Karas said. "Don’t hold onto to records like tax returns longer than you are legally required.”

Anything you don't need should be securely destroyed. If you have a printer or copier, even the notes and letters you write, you need a destruction plan."

Send and Shred shreds and recycles sensitive paperwork for households and small business. Customers buy a shred bag online for $19.95 plus postage, fill it with paperwork, seal it when full and lodge in any post office anywhere in Australia. Send and Shred securely shreds and recycles the bag and contents. Customers can track their bag and download a destruction certificate.

For over 17 years, Shred-X has been the number one choice for confidential document destruction. Shred‐X has an extensive national footprint throughout Australia with high security destruction facilities in all capital cities and regional centres. Shred-X are committed to providing the highest security levels and complete chain of custody to mitigate the risk of potential privacy breaches and costly penalties.  Shred-X offer customised services for households through to multi-nationals and high security government departments. 

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