For some reason, likely to do with anonymity and ambiguity, it is easy to forget that criminals exist and thrive online. Unlike your average burglar, they’re shrewd and sophisticated. Until recently, you would be forgiven for assuming you would never fall victim to a cybercrime. However, a recent high-profile data breach affecting millions of Australians has shone a spotlight on the real threat of hackers and identity theft, among other fraudulent activities. This event, coinciding with October being National Cyber Awareness Month, has encouraged our team to outline three simple ways you can protect yourself online and gain peace of mind.
Verify if you’re unsure
How many times have you scrutinised a suspicious-looking email or text message? Even the most tech-savvy individual can find verifying the validity of a communication a challenge, and we have understandably received queries about the legitimacy of text messages from Macquarie bank. As such, we’ve taken the opportunity to provide a timely reminder of our verification process, so you know what to expect from our team.
The Macquarie text message is a standard procedure when transactions between accounts occur. Unless you have opted out, you will always receive this verification message.
Our team can only ever transfer:
- A tax bill to the ATO if you have given us a signed tax payment authority.
- To an account that you have signed off as a nominated bank account.
- To your Macquarie high-interest accelerator account if there is one attached to your investment portfolio.
When any of the above transfers occur, you will receive a text message confirmation with the name of your adviser and the name of the account it was transferred to. If a transfer occurs that is not one of the above; you will receive a code to pass on to your adviser to authorise payment. You will never be asked to click on a link or enter any personal details. If you’re unsure, our team is always happy to jump on a call and confirm for you.
Complete regular updates
One of the most common ways cybercriminals, malicious programs and computer viruses gain access to personal data is through unsecured devices. Like thieves who take advantage of an unlocked window, cybercriminals will always look for the easiest way into your device. Developers are constantly reviewing and strengthening their products to resolve security concerns, so staying up to date with software updates is a simple way to secure your data. For peace of mind, always look for the option to turn on automatic updates.
Use a password manager
Do you use the same password for different accounts? Do you create passwords that include words and phrases that are memorable to you? Despite being aware of the risks, weak and reused passwords are a reality, mainly because it’s impossible to curate something unique for each new online account.
For good reason, the financial services industry is regularly audited to ensure best practice cyber security and data privacy measures are in place. Our team is proud of our commitment to due diligence. We work closely with a dedicated third-party cyber security team, internal compliance group, and industry specialists who help us stay on track. Tactics such as password managers, regular automatic updates and third-party verification are commonplace, and we are always happy to help guide you where needed.
The cyber security paradigm is constantly changing, but thankfully, so are the resources available to navigate this landscape. Despite recent data breaches, more institutions are consulting global experts to safeguard their client data and do the right thing. The above tips only scrape the surface of the steps you can take to protect your information online. If you ever have concerns or need a second opinion, your advice team is happy to help.
How to update your device: https://www.cyber.gov.au/updates
If you have been affected by the Optus data breach: https://www.idcare.org/optus-db-response
If you have been impacted by the Optus data breach, please notify a member of your advice team, so they can ensure Macquarie are notified.