INDEPENDENT NEWS

Kiwis Reminded to Stay Safe Online

Published: Fri 22 Dec 2006 09:28 AM
Kiwis Reminded to Stay Safe Online
22 December 2006
As Kiwis prepare to take a summer break, Xtra’s security specialists are urging holidaymakers to be mindful of on-line fraud and risks, especially when accessing non-familiar computers.
On-line fraud is increasingly becoming an issue in New Zealand with cyber criminals easily targeting unprotected computers sometimes from all over the world.
Telecom’s Adrian Littlewood says although New Zealanders now take the Internet for granted they still need to be careful when entering information or personal details into computers they don’t know are secure.
“People using unfamiliar computers while they’re on holiday, for banking or shopping online, do run the risk of their financial details being stolen and used to access their accounts,” says Mr Littlewood.
Mr Littlewood says software such as keystroke loggers can be installed on computers for the purpose of stealing information including a users bank details.
“We advise Internet users to be cautious when using a computer for financial transactions - unless they can trust that it’s well-protected from security threats with up-to-date security software.
“Public computers are an obvious risk, but the same caution should be applied to the computers of friends and family, who may unwittingly be exposing you to risk through an unprotected computer.”
Mr Littlewood warns that online fraud tactics are likely to become more sophisticated in 2007, requiring even greater vigilance, particularly against phishing.
Phishing scams are designed to lure people into entering personal details and are particularly centred around banking.
They involve the use of bogus e-mails which request confirmation of security and account information and people are often asked to click a provided link through to a site which looks like an authentic banking or transaction site.
Mr Littlewood says Telecom works proactively with the NZ Bankers Association, participating in the Internet Fraud Forum to help make online banking more safe and secure.
Mr Littlewood says while the threats are real the steps to protecting your self online are not overly complex. He gives the following advice for consumers for safer surfing and online banking:
1. Ensure your computer is well-protected from cyber criminals by ensuring you:
* Install and update the most recent version of your operating system
* Install security software such as the Xtra Security Suite and apply updates and patches
* Scan your computer using the security software and remove any malicious software found
2. Regularly back-up valuable information stored on your computer
3. Delete emails from unknown senders in your inbox and from the delete folder.
4. Never respond to a request for your personal information via e-mail, in a pop-up window or a click on the link embedded in the email.
5. Visit banking websites by typing the full website address. Do a search to confirm the site is valid and genuine and look for authenticity of the website.
You should immediately report suspected abuse of your personal information to your bank or the NZ Police. And talk to your bank about best practice guidelines and safety measures for using online banking products and services.
Xtra has developed a purpose-built web channel with information on how to stay safe online www.xtra.co.nz/securityhelp
ENDS

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