Adam Tedeschi Team : User Experience Tags : Issues

Taking your online security seriously

Adam Tedeschi Team : User Experience Tags : Issues

Recently I had a very frustrating and stressful experience whilst travelling overseas. I tried to use my credit card to buy some airline tickets only to be informed the card was declined. Someone, after stealing my statement from my mailbox, managed to send a fax (yes, a fax!) to my bank instructing them to transfer my entire credit limit to their account. I eventually got the money back but it got me thinking about how seriously I take my online identity, what passwords I use and how often I check to see what is happening with various accounts I hold.

This experience also got me asking friends and colleagues about how seriously they take their online security. Many admitted to having the same password for every account they have online. Their Facebook password is the same as their banking password which is the same as their hotmail password. Too many people, I found out, have the “it won’t happen to me” attitude and just don’t realise how many bad guys are out there just waiting to steal their identity and their money.

There are a few good guides out there to help you protect your online accounts and your money. Most banks help out by requiring SMS codes or other security measures but you can’t just rely on those. The AFP has some simple tips to help protect your financial identity:

1. Don’t provide your PIN or Internet banking login or password to anyone;

2. Delete spam and scam e-mail – if the offer sounds too good to be true – it probably is;

3. Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up-to-date;

4. Always logon to Internet banking by typing in your bank’s full web address, i.e. the URL;

5. Don’t use public computers for Internet banking e.g. Internet cafes, libraries or hotels;

6. Guard the following identity information carefully and only provide to trusted people and entities: date of birth, current address, driver’s licence number and passport details.

In addition, one very important tip is to use secure passwords. Don’t just use your name, your partners name, don’t use a sequential number just because it is easy to remember and try and make each password unique with various characters, upper and lower cases.

Change your passwords regularly, if you have had to log on to a public computer to check your accounts change your password afterwards from somewhere you trust that has solid anti-virus software and a firewall.

Also avoid putting any information on publically accessible sites (even facebook) that could be used to answer security questions a bank or financial institution might ask – think about what you are telling the world before you post that comment.

The first thing I did when getting back to the country was cancelling all of my paper statements! Not only is it good for the environment it could save you from being ripped off.

The greatest tip is to take your security seriously. The greatest mistake to make is underestimating the ability of people who want to steal your identity and your money!