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Cyber security series - Creating strong passwords

Tips to keep you and your family safe from cybercrime.


The easiest way for someone to access your personal information is by guessing or stealing your passwords, so make them as strong as possible and keep them secure.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to pretend to be you in order to carry out fraudulent activities, such as trying to access your bank accounts or opening a credit card in your name.


Cybercrime campaigns often start with an email that attempts to convince you to install unauthorised software on their computer, or asks them to provide personal information. This can result in financial loss or other negative consequences. The good news is there are easy steps you can take to keep yourself and your family safe online. By understanding more about cybercrime and how cybercriminals target their victims, you can learn to recognise potential scams and adopt safe online behaviour.

What makes a strong password?

  • Long - If it is more than eight characters, it will be harder to guess
  • Complex - Made up of a mix of letters, numbers and symbols
  • Unique - Use different passwords for different websites and online services
  • Random - Avoid using common words that you could find in a dictionary
  • Easy to remember - Create a password based on a phrase that is easy for you to remember, but hard for anyone else (especially a computer) to guess
  • Difficult to guess - Don’t use obvious names, dates of birth, sequences or phone numbers

Passwords checklist

  1. Don’t write your passwords down or store them on your computer. If you must record it somewhere, make sure it’s disguised.
  2. Never share your password with anyone, even family members.
  3. Don’t click ‘remember this password’ on your browser, and make sure you log off when you’re finished.
  4. Use a password manager such as ‘KeePass’, ‘LastPass’, ‘Dashlane’ or ‘1Password’ if you have trouble memorising complex passwords.
  5. If you think your login details to a secure site have been lost or stolen, alert the company immediately.

 

Types of cybercrime

Online scams
Schemes that seek to take advantage of individuals by presenting a solicitous offer (such as a free or cheap holiday) that turns out to be dishonest or non-existent.


Identity fraud
Illegally accessing an individual’s information and using this information to steal money or other benefits.


Malware & ransomware
Malicious software designed to gain unauthorised access to an individual’s computer system. Typically used to steal data, destroy data, or to prevent the user from being able to access their files, holding them to ‘ransom’ and extorting users for payment.


Phishing
An email pretending to be from a legitimate, trusted company (such as a bank or other service provider) that attempts to trick an individual into providing their personal or financial information.

For more information on cyber security

If you’d like more information on cyber security, including keeping personal information secure, speak to a financial adviser.

Disclaimer
Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (Colonial First State) is the issuer of the FirstChoice range of super and pension products from the Colonial First State FirstChoice Superannuation Trust ABN 26 458 298 557. Colonial First State also issues interests in products made available under FirstChoice Investments and FirstChoice Wholesale Investments. This document may include general advice but does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) carefully, assess whether the information is appropriate for you, and consider talking to a financial adviser before making an investment decision. The PDS and FSG can be obtained from colonialfirststate.com.au or by calling us on 13 13 36.