Cyber security and identity crime

By Vijay Krishnan, Head of Information Security, UniSuper

The nature, risk, and sophistication of cybercrime is constantly evolving and represents a global challenge for the financial services industry. What can you do to protect yourself ?

The economic impact of identity crime in Australia is estimated to be $2.2 billion, and it’s one of the most prevalent crimes in Australia. So it’s no surprise that at UniSuper, we take it pretty seriously.

We regularly update our processes and systems to mitigate cybercrime risks. But there are steps you can take to safeguard your personal information too. We wouldn’t leave our homes unlocked while out, so why take a different mindset in protecting our personal information?

It’s important to understand the true value of your personal information. Your name, date of birth, tax file number, driver licence and passport details are all pieces of information that—in the wrong hands—can compromise the security of your online accounts.

And with email, bank and social media accounts among the most commonly targeted in identity crime, here are some tips to help ensure you’re using these accounts safely.

The Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) suggests users look out for suspicious and unsolicited emails. This could include an email telling you you’ve won a prize in a competition you didn’t enter, or promises of vast wealth if you follow ‘just a few simple steps’.

More worrying are emails that appear to be from your financial institution asking you for your personal details. If you’re concerned that you’ve received such an email, Stay Smart Online suggests contacting the organisation directly using details found from a legitimate source, and not from the email you received.

And it goes without saying that passwords and other confidential information should never be shared via email.

Stay Smart Online suggests that users type their bank’s website directly into their internet browser, rather than searching for it via a search engine.

It’s crucial to have a strong password that you change regularly, and to always log out of your account once you’ve finished.

We share a lot about ourselves on social media these days. But the information you share can be easily accessed by people you don’t know—however ‘private’ you think your settings might be.

Remember to only accept friend requests from people you know and use a different, strong password (that you change regularly) for each of your social media accounts. Stay Smart Online recommends being particularly careful about posting information that could compromise your security, including your date of birth, address, holiday plans, your daily routine and photographs of your friends and family.

The bottom line—you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself online. Visit Stay Smart Online for more detailed information and tips.