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Cyber Security Series - Keeping your email secure

Tips to keep you and your family safe from cybercrime.


The internet has changed the way we live – from shopping and banking to connecting with friends and catching up with the news. But now that so many of the activities we do every day are online, it’s become easier for hackers to get access to your personal information.

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.

Email is a fast and convenient way to receive communications – but it’s also a common way for cybercriminals to target people with scams, phishing or malware. Take a few seconds to think about whether an email or attachment seems genuine before you click on it.

Think before you click

  • Your bank will never send you an email asking for your online banking details
  • Cybercriminals often use a company’s name and logo — contact the company by phone if you suspect the email is a scam
  • Phishing emails may contain bad spelling and grammar or come from a peculiar email address
  • Don’t open an attachment if you can’t verify who sent it to you
  • Your anti-virus software may be able to scan an attachment for viruses or spyware
  • Only click on links if you recognise and trust the web address it will take you to

E-mail security checklist:

  1. Make sure your firewall and security software are running the latest updates, and ensure your operating system is up-to-date with the latest patches.
  2. Check if spam filtering is activated on your email account.
  3. Consider setting up a separate email address for mailing lists, online shopping and marketing emails.
  4. Turn off the ‘automatic download’ function in your email settings to ensure malicious attachments aren’t infiltrating your machine without your knowledge. 


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.

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.

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 or by calling us on 13 13 36.