Cyber threats explained

For years, Australians have been losing millions to scammers and have already lost over $100 million so far this year. 

The good news is, that as Australia's largest telco, we're acutely aware of these threats and we block more than a million malicious spam calls on our network each month - along with a growing number of SMS messages.

You can add to this safety net by getting to know the common cyber security risks and taking a few simple measures to avoid them.

 

Scam emails and messages

Phishing

Phishing is the name given to emails or messages that persuade you to provide personal or sensitive information. They can lure you in by pretending to be from large organisations or brands you trust.

These emails are often a bid to obtain your username and password or to get you to open an attachment that could harm your computer.

Viruses, worms and trojans

Malware

Malware is a general term for the malicious software that hackers use to get unauthorised access to your computer. They can steal credit card details and bank logins or generate illegal revenue from ads or popups that display in your web browser.

Malware is often delivered via a link or file in an email and is activated when you click the link or open the file.

Personal information

Identity theft

When a hacker has access to your personal information they can use it to create fake identity documents or apply for real ones - they may take loans out in your name or make expensive purchases online.

Though it's a relatively uncommon crime, it can take a long time to recover from identity theft and the emotional and financial cost can be high.

Vulnerabilities

Hacking and data breaches

All apps, services, websites, and devices have security flaws or vulnerabilities. Criminals who find flaws, can access private data and sell it over the dark web or use it to steal money.

You've probably heard about data breaches where millions of private records have been compromised - affecting the reputation of the organisation that was breached and the security of people who have had their information stolen.

Simple steps to defend yourself against a cyber attack

Here are 8 easy ways you can protect you and your family online:

  • Be sceptical of all unexpected incoming communication, no matter if it appears to be from a company you use and trust, and regardless of whether it is an email, text message, or phone call.  Always double-check by reaching out to a company using contact details from their official website.
  • Use strong passwords. Consider making your passwords a phrase that is unique to you. Typing a few words is easier and can be more secure than most traditional passwords. Use a password manager to generate passwords and help keep them secure.
  • Say yes to multi-factor authentication whenever it is available. Many online services offer multi-factor authentication, it's an extra level of security that needs multiple pieces of proof to log you in - so when a website asks you to enable multi-factor authentication, you should seriously consider it.
  • Apply the latest updates. Protect your devices by making sure the latest iOS or Android updates are applied. Modern phones will automatically check for updates and apply them, and do the same for apps downloaded from official app stores. 
  • Add an extra layer of security to your devices with antivirus software like the Trend Micro™ Security Suite, included when you take up Telstra Cyber Security Device Protect. It helps you to manage passwords, guard against phishing scams, check for breaches and secure your Wi-Fi.
  • Limit what you share online. Set your social media accounts to private and limit the amount of personal information you share online like your birthday, address, or photos that identify your children’s school.
  • Backup your data to the cloud or external hard drive regularly. This can protect you from data loss related to hardware failures, theft or malware.
  • Use secure Wi-Fi. Be careful about sending and receiving confidential information across a public wi-fi network - it's easier for hackers to intercept it. You can turn any public hotspot into secure Wi-Fi with Telstra Cyber Security Device Protect.

Telstra Cyber Security

Take the guesswork out of online safety with Telstra Cyber Security - it's a one-stop-shop for protecting your devices and home internet.

Everything you need to stay safe online

Telstra Cyber Security Device Protect

 We've partnered with cyber security leader Trend Micro to bring you comprehensive antivirus software for PCs, Macs, tablets and mobiles. Telstra Cyber Security Device Protect offers all-in-one device protection for $10 a month.

Telstra Broadband Protect

With Telstra Broadband Protect, you can adjust security settings for your home internet, including blocking websites and setting up basic parental controls - it's automatically activated when you take up a Telstra internet plan.

Explore Telstra Cyber Security

Ways to recover from a cyber attack

When things go wrong, follow these tips to recover and get help:

  • Contact your bank -  If you've accidentally given your banking details to a scammer - it's important to contact your bank straight away. Most big banks will cover any loss if someone makes an unauthorised transaction on your account, as long as you have protected your client number and passwords.
  • Recover your identity - If you think you’ve been the victim of identity theft, act quickly. For advice, contact IDCARE and use their free learning resources to help you work out what to do.
  • Seek advice and support -  for scams that impersonate Services Australia brands like Centrelink, Child Support, Medicare and myGov. If you have given personal information to a scammer pretending to be any of these brands, reach out to Services Australia Scams and Identity Theft.

Report a scam or cyber attack:

  • Report scams to Scamwatch - Scams can be reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch.
  • Report to authorities - If you have been a victim of a cybercrime such as fraud, report it to ReportCyber.

Keep kids safe online

Kids are more connected than ever - with access to devices, apps and games that parents can struggle to keep up with. 

Restricting time spent online is a good start but becomes more difficult when kids need to be connected for school and for socialising during periods of isolation or lockdown.

Kids are also more vulnerable to the dangers of being on online - it's important to keep communication open, set up parental controls and make sure that kids understand the basics of cyber safety.

Set strong and unique passwords

When you buy a new device, change the factory-set password on it straight away, including any networked devices (router/modem). Use a password management tool to keep your passwords organised and secure.

Secure devices and online accounts

Set up parental controls on all the devices that your kids use. iPhone has in-built tools to help keep kids safe and there are apps you can install on Android devices.

Teach kids to search and socialise safely

Do a privacy check on your devices, browsers, social media and other apps. Avoid sharing info on birthdays, age, address, or school. It can be used to crack passwords or steal your identity.

Cyber Security for Small Business

Hacking, data leaks and electronic fraud are an all-too-common occurrence these days. How can small businesses prevent sensitive client information from falling into the wrong hands? 

Many of the measures recommended for consumers also apply to small businesses - using secure passwords, keeping devices and apps up to date, being vigilant with phishing attacks and using robust antivirus tools.

To add an extra layer of security, small businesses can sign up to Telstra Business Cyber Security Services and have access to 24/7 local support, expert advice and regular check-ups.

Telstra Enterprise security experts can help large organisations protect, detect and respond to threats to secure their operations now and into the future.

The latest scams and news on cyber security

With so many threats and scams popping up daily, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed. 

To get started, you can head to CrowdSupport to see a summary of the latest scams.

For tips, in-depth reviews, and the latest information for consumers, explore our Cyber Security news hub. Here's what's new:

 

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Fraudsters are getting better and better at separating marks from their money online. But while scammer tactics may evolve, the foundations of scams are largely unchanged.
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