Social Networking sites and online organisations that store personal details are the latest target for identity thefts.

Simply by visiting a website, internet users are potentially at risk.

Michelle Thomas reports.

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Internet users beware. The personal details you post and share online aren’t always safe.

At this week’s National ‘Identity Crime’ Symposium, experts are saying people need to ‘think smart’ when sharing personal information online.

Details like your full name, date of birth, postal address, and even your favourite colour when posted on-line can compromise your identity.

Det Insp Terry Lawrence, Fraud and Corporate Crime: “So anything about themselves, like personal identifiers, whether it be their drivers licence, address, their age, their sex – other people can see that and if those other people want to do something with that information then they can.”

But, if caught, cyber hackers face considerable consequences.

Det Insp Terry Lawrence, Fraud and Corporate Crime: “There’s a range of penalties. We start off with 3 years for identity crime which is fraud and identity theft, and up to 10 years for hacking information.”

Passwords are often the weakest point of protection when it comes to hacking to increase security, hacking expert Chris Gatford says people should incorporate special characters into their passwords and that protection online ultimately comes down to the user.

Chris Gatford, HackLabs Director: “If you don’t know this organisation, if it doesn’t look reputable, if you can’t find contact phone numbers, if you can’t track this down to an individual, or even if it’s a small organisation, you need to make your own judgement as to the information you are providing them.”

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are some of the most popular sites for hackers to target.

Hackers are getting so efficient one social networking site was compromised just 45 minutes after being launched to the web.

And with resources available to hackers increasing, cyber fraud and identity theft is a war that hasn’t been won yet.

Chris Gatford, HackLabs Director: “This is a digital arms race which the bad guys are winning.”

Michelle Thomas, QUT News.