Keeping secure online.

2min read
Posted 23 July 21

Let's face it — just about everyone is online now, and so is all our essential financial information. So paying attention to cyber security in NZ is pretty crucial if you want to keep your money where it belongs in your account. 

Digital hackers and scammers are always lurking around online, looking to steal your online data. If they get hold of your information, they can do more than just post on your social media they can pretend to be you, steal your money and take out loans in your name. When companies get hacked, your information could get leaked online without you ever knowing.

Scammers and hackers use this online information to steal your identity. A hack can take months to fix, and you might not always get your stolen money back.

 

What kind of cyber threats are there?

The three main types of cyber threats are scams, identity theft and the dark web.

In this blog, we'll look at how to stay protected online and explain these three terms in more detail.
 

Scams.

There are heaps of different scams designed to steal your online data. 

Hackers often pretend to be banks, the police, or the government, telling you that you owe them money, taking you to a fake login page, slipping viruses in email attachments.

Don't click on any links you don't know, and definitely don't download any attachments. Be careful of anything claiming to be a reward, tax refund or competition win sometimes things are too good to be true.

If the email sent to you is claiming some vital information, it is best to speak first with your provider to check which bank they're with or ring the agency the email claims it represents. Make sure to use their official contact information and see whether they require anything from you after speaking to them.
 

The dark web and identity theft.

The dark web is dangerous, where criminals buy and sell illegal things drugs, weapons, and stolen information. It's one of the biggest challenges to cyber security in NZ.

Fraudsters can buy details here like your name, address, birthday and logins to commit identity theft. They pretend to be you, buy things in your name, open credit cards, and run up debts. Criminals can even use stolen passwords to log into your accounts and steal more of your information.

The impact of cyber attacks can be devastating on your finances and your online identity. Cybercriminals could steal money from your bank accounts and wreck your credit score by taking out debt in your name. If you suspect some of the information on your credit report might not be accurate, or seems unusual, speak to a credit reporter. It may be that your account has been hacked into without you realising.
 

So how do I stay safe?

There are lots you can do to keep your data safe and stop identity theft from wrecking your life: 
 

Keep your social media private.

Hackers can easily use the information you post on social media to guess your password and hack your account. So don't share anything you shouldn't or that allows people you don't know to contact you through your personal information. All hackers need to steal your identity is your name, address and date of birth so be careful with what you share online, and never post your birthday or talk on socials.

 

Check your bank statements.

Don't underestimate the importance of checking up on your bank statements regularly. If you see any suspicious transactions, report them to your bank right away. 

 

Get a credit check.

While you're looking at your bank statements, it's worth taking the time to monitor your credit activity too. 

Getting a credit check helps you see if anyone's using your personal information to take out loans in your name. The earlier you spot suspicious activity, the quicker you can stop it - sometimes before any damage has been done.
 

Use strong passwords.

Rule of thumb when it comes to cyber security in NZ the longer your password, the stronger it is. So don't use readily identifiable information like your name or birthday. Try to mix it up too if you can use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. 

Also, it important is to make sure you use a different password for every account. If it's hard for you to keep track of multiple complex passwords, use a password manager. Managers help you develop great passwords and keep them all in one easily accessible place.

 

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA).

Using just one password will offer some protection, but using multiple forms of identification that can't be as easily copied is better.

Two-factor authentication is when you confirm your identity by using something else different when you log in usually through a code sent to your phone. To get this feature, you need to add protection to your email, banking, Paypal, and other vital accounts.

 

Back up your data.

Backing up all your data makes you less vulnerable to cyber-attacks because you won't have to worry so much if you get locked out of your account. It also means that everything you need can be quickly restored in case of a breach of your information.
 

Keep your devices up to date.

Stop swiping those upgrade notifications away! It's only 5 mins of your time! Upgrades for apps and devices often include security fixes, so installing them when they're available is important. It's a vital part of protecting your cyber security.

 

Be careful when using free Wi-Fi.

Find yourself frequently jumping on hotspots or logging on at cafes? These networks are unsecured, which means your information's a lot more visible than it would be on a private network. Be sure to avoid banking or online shopping on open, public networks.
 

In short.

There are three main things to look out for online: scams, identity theft and the dark web. Scams are where people pretend to be your friend or send you money but they want to get access to your bank account. Identity theft is where someone uses your data to pretend to be you, and the dark web is where people sell illegal stuff and your personal information.

To keep secure online, don't share your personal information freely, back up your data, use two-factor authentication, and avoid entering your financial details online if you're using an unsecured wi-fi spot.

 

 

Disclaimer.

Info and tools on the Yonda website are used as a guide only and do not constitute financial advice. Use Yonda as a starting point and then seek professional advice.