In light of the Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online week (October 9th – 13th 2017), we want to reinforce to our valued clients and employees just how important cyber awareness is. Nowadays, most of us shop, bank and transact online daily, not to mention other online activities such as social media sharing which encourage us to unveil what was once considered personal information to the public.
Prompted by the release of Stay Smart Online’s ‘My Guide’ to cyber safety, we want to familiarise our clients with techniques, tips and facts for staying safe when using the internet. We hope to offer a summary of the threats faced through online transacting and sharing, and aim to reduce your risk of falling victim to cyber crime – a situation far better avoided than rectified!

Common Threats:

Adware – Software that delivers unwanted ads and content.
Spyware – Software that can attain your personal information without your knowledge.
Malware – An umbrella term for all viruses, spyware, Trojans etc.
Virus – Malware that can infect and corrupt your computer.
Worm – Self-replicating virus.
Ransomware – Impairs your computer function, with offer to restore for a fee.
Phishing – Fraudulent e-mails attempting to access personal information.
Trojan Horse – Virus hidden in a file or program that appears safe to install.
CryptoLocker – Type of ransomware. Locks documents and applications until a ‘fee’ is paid to unlock.
KeyLogger – Program that records a computer’s keystrokes, to monitor and record passwords and information.
Spam – Unsolicited e-mails, often containing scams or harmful attachments.
ScareWare – Threatening pop-ups attempting to extort money.
Man-in-the-middle – Interception of communication, where communication content is altered or disabled.
Drive-by Download – Infection caused simply by visiting a dangerous website.
Catfish – Internet predators who create fake accounts and identities to form relationships with intention of financial gain.

The Facts:

– In 2015 and 2016, almost $300 Million per year was lost to scams in Australia alone.
– 38% of scams occur via e-mail or social networks.
– The top two most common scams are phishing and identity theft.
– 15,000 reports of phishing scams were reported in 2015.
– NSW and QLD have report the highest number of scams.
– Reported scams increased by a whopping 47% from 2015 to 2016.

For more statistics on Australian cyber crime visit:

Safety Tips:

1. Always create STRONG passwords: It’s tempting to use passwords that are easy to remember such as the name of a pet or child, but resist the temptation to use words that are easy to guess. Use a combination of numbers, letters and symbols where possible.
2. Make a habit of looking for the secure ‘padlock’ symbol and ‘https’ in the browser address bar when visiting websites – especially when using a site to bank or transact.
3. Keep your computer up-to-date with quality anti-virus software.
4. If you receive a suspect e-mail and you want to contact the sender, never use the contact details provided in the e-mail to call for confirmation. Often these contact details are connected to call centres with trained scammers who will search for legitimate contact details securely online before confirming that the e-mail is legitimate, and know you are talking to a genuine staff member.
5. Use official aps for online banking, and avoid Google-searching your institution to transact via web browser unless you are 100% confident you are using the official secure site (see point #2).
6. Ensure you always log out from websites where your private information has been used or stored.
7. Try to utilise reliable online retailers where possible.
8. Keep your mobile phone password-protected to ensure your personal information cannot be accessed by others.
9. Report scams to to help others avoid trending scams, and monitor updates for your own security.

The best defence against cyber crime is awareness and education. For more information, you can view Stay Smart Online’s ‘My Guide’ via this link.