Are you being safe online?
Did you know that so far this year there have been 191,991 reports of scams to the ACCC’s ScamWatch1? And over 67,500 cybercrime reports made to the ACSC2? Unfortunately, cybercrime has become part of life, but there are things you can do to stay safe online. In this article we’ll provide information about cybersecurity, the types of crime and how you can stay safe online.
Hacking and fraud
Hacking is the most well-known type of cybercrime. It’s a practice that targets vulnerabilities in technology to enable an attacker to gain access to information or computers.
Fraud and scams involving computers are also increasingly used to gain access to super accounts or collect information about members.
You can find more information about the different types of scams at scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams.
Malware is malicious software used to automate or perform attacks.
Common types of malware include:
- trojans that provide access to computers
- ransomware that locks user files
- keyloggers that record input
- viruses that destroy software or hardware and make a computer unusable.
Attackers will target your account and identity information in order to impersonate you.
Techniques like phishing and phone scams are used to get account, identity and financial details from people just like you.
This information is used in further attacks to impersonate a person, or is sold on the Darkweb.
How common is cybercrime?
Unfortunately cybercrime, and cyber attacks, are happening all the time. You can see all the attacks happening around the world in real-time at cybermap.kapersky.com.
What can I do to be safe?
A good mindset and some safe practices will go a long way to keeping you safe online:
- be cautious
- secure your devices
- use strong passwords
- be cautious when using social media and email.
Recognise the risk of being online and using the internet. Be suspicious of contact from strangers or unusual and unreasonable requests from friends or businesses. If you receive a call:
- demanding payment in the form or gift cards or money transfers
- suggesting your computer has a virus
- claiming you have an unpaid fine or tax debt
be aware it may be a scam. Hang up immediately and contact ScamWatch.
Secure your devices
Use anti-virus software on your devices to protect against malware.
Use access PINS or biometric features (like thumbprint readers or face unlock) on your mobile devices and apps. These can be easier to use than passwords, and they can be more secure too.
Always install available software updates for your device and applications, and only use current software and operating systems.
Create strong passwords that are long and complex, and use unique passwords wherever possible. If two-factor authentication is available on your account, you should use it! This is a security process where the user needs to provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves, such as a password and a code that has been sent to your mobile phone.
Passwords are broken by using computers to guess them. A modern computer can guess any eight-character password in just five hours. But, a 12-character password takes the same computer 200 years to guess. So, the longer – the better.
Password managers can help you to manage your passwords.
Be cautious when using social media and email
Don’t open emails from strangers, and always look out for suspicious email. Don’t open anything that asks for your password, or asks you to confirm personal details.
If you receive an email from your bank, super fund, or another business and the email seems suspicious, you can always call the business to check the legitimacy of the email.
Finding out more
Exercising caution is the key to staying safe online. Cyber.gov.au has excellent advice for internet users and small business owners. It also has examples of scams and threats so you can learn about suspicious activities and what to look out for.
At Spirit Super, we’ve made significant investments in technology and processes to combat cybercrime and aid in preventing attacks, but protecting accounts from cybercrime also requires good practice by you. You need to be aware of the risks and potential attacks.
If you notice anything unusual or suspicious on your Spirit Super account, contact us on 1800 005 166.
1The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ScamWatch scams statistics for number of reports accessed at 24 September 2021. https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/scam-statistics.
2The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Annual Cyber Threat Report 2020-21 accessed 24 September 2021. https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/reports-and-statistics/acsc-annual-cyber-threat-report-2020-21.