Safe computer, mobile and Wi-Fi use

Man checking his bank account on his mobile phone

We rely on computers, mobile devices and Wi-Fi for lots of things daily, including online banking and staying connected to our loved ones. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your data is protected on these connective devices from fraudsters. We’ve put together some tips to help you get familiar with safe computer, mobile and Wi-Fi practises. 

Safe computer use

There are heaps of ways to protect your computer from viruses and unauthorised access, including: 

Before you connect:

  • If you’re using a laptop outside of your home, make sure it’s password protected.
  • Install and regularly update your anti-virus software and ensure it scans emails as they are received. Your computer store or software retailer will be able to recommend a suitable product.
  • Ensure that your operating system and installed programs are up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Install a personal firewall to protect against intrusions to your computer system and activate any firewall function on your home Internet connection.
  • Do not accept the assistance of someone contacting you where you haven’t initially asked for help. Particularly, do not allow someone to remote control your computer if you’re not entirely sure that they are who they claim to be.
  • Consider registering for the Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online Alert Service.

While browsing the internet:  

  • Use email spam filters to help protect against receiving hoax/spam emails. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer email spam filtering services. Contact your ISP via telephone, email, or their website to determine if they offer a spam filtering service.
  • Be very wary of opening or running files or clicking on links on untrusted or unfamiliar Web sites or attached to unsolicited emails.
  • Before logging in to a web site using an account and password, ensure that the site is secure. Different web browsers show this in different ways. For example, in Microsoft Internet Explorer ‘https://’ should be displayed at the start of the web address in your browser's address bar. Your web browser should also display a padlock, indicating a secure connection and that the issued digital certificate from the site is valid.
  • CVV numbers are used for online purchases and are printed on the back of Debit and Credit Cards. Don’t record or store your card’s CVV online. The only record should be on the card itself.

While using internet banking with Heritage: 

  • Never follow a link from a non-Heritage website that purports to take you to, or log you in to Heritage Online.
  • Never enter your personal banking information on a non-Heritage website or after clicking a link in an email. We will never send you an email with a link in it, asking you to confirm your details. We will ask you to confirm your details when you log in to Heritage Online. 
  • Try not to use internet banking sites from public access computers, such as internet cafés. You have no way of knowing what software is on these machines or how secure they are.
  • Heritage Online may send you an email to notify you that certain significant actions have occurred on your account. This includes things such as BPAY®, money transfers, addition of a new scheduled transfer, change of email address etc. If you ever receive one of these confirmation emails without having personally done the transaction it is referring to, please contact us immediately.

After using the internet: 

  • As soon as you have finished with your internet banking or when leave your computer, make sure you logout or lock your computer.
  • If you print statements or details from your internet banking session, protect them appropriately and securely dispose of them when they are no longer required.

Safe mobile use

Smart phones are just that- smart! That means they have lots of ways for you to save passwords and record data. This also means that they are targets for scammers who want to use this data to access your money or personal information. Some tips to keep your mobile device more secure are: 

  • Don’t store your bank account numbers or passwords anywhere in your mobile device or in the web browser of your mobile device. If someone else accesses your phone, you do not want them having these details freely available. 
  • Keep your mobile device’s system and application software up to date and run security software if it is available.
  • Be aware of Mobile Phone Porting. This is where fraudsters who have compromised your credentials may port or transfer your mobile phone number to another provider, allowing them to receive security codes and alerts sent to that phone via SMS. If your phone service suddenly stops working, contact your provider immediately. If you believe your phone has been ported without your permission and you are registered for SMS security, please contact us immediately. 
  • Be wary of phishing scams. Phishing’ refers to email or SMS messages that trick people into giving out their personal and banking information. 

Safe Wi-Fi Practices

Wi-Fi networks are a convenient and fast way to access the internet. However having or using an unprotected Wi-Fi network can expose your private information and potentially allow unauthorised persons to perform malicious activities to devices connected to it. 

Firstly, never assume free or public Wi-Fi networks are secure and do not do your banking on public networks. You may also like to consider using the following tips on your own Wi-Fi network. 

  • Enable encryption on your Wi-Fi router and use WPA2 router security setting if available. Avoid using the less secure WEP standard router security setting if possible.
  • Change the default password used to administer the router.
  • Change the name of your Wi-Fi network from the default name.
  • Use complex and difficult to guess Wi-Fi access and router administrator passwords.
  • Disable publishing or broadcasting of your Wi-Fi network name (or SSID).

Tip: You may need to look at your Wi-Fi router manual or seek advice when configuring your wireless router. 

To learn more about protecting yourself from scams, visit our Security and Scam help section or see our latest Heritage security alerts.

You can also register for the Australian Cyber Security Scam Alert Service for individuals, families and businesses. Learn more from the Australian Cyber Security Centre

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