Protect your computer with security measures
Protecting yourself means doing things like always logging out from your online banking, not having the same passwords across multiple sites, and being wary of phishing scams. Here’s what else you might want to consider to help protect your computer from nasty viruses or scams.
Install anti-virus software
Get protection from viruses that could damage your computer and its programs by installing reputable antivirus software. Once installed, to keep your computer protected:
- update your anti-virus software regularly
- set your computer to automatically check for new virus definitions regularly
- perform regular full scans of your computer, at least weekly
Install anti-spyware software
Spyware programs are designed to covertly track what you are doing on the Internet.
These hidden programs are:
- often bundled together with file sharing, email virus or browser accelerator programs
- usually installed without your knowledge
Spyware is used to collect personal Internet usage information and confidential data such as passwords, credit card numbers and online banking details. Choose a reputable anti-spyware software provider.
Keep your browser and operating system up to date
From time to time, security weaknesses or bugs are found in browsers and operating systems. To ensure you have the most up-to-date security features:
- install updates to all your applications as soon as they become available
- make regular checks on your software vendor’s website or request an automated alert if available
- apply new security patches as soon as possible
Avoid downloading programs, installing software or downloading files from an unknown source, or websites that are not considered a trusted source.
Using other computers
If you access your accounts using a computer in a cyber café, a library or your workplace take care as there may be malicious software installed in order to collect information belonging to anyone using the computer. Try to ensure the computer has the latest anti-virus software, firewall protection, anti-spyware software and browser software installed.
Is your computer infected?
If your computer has been infected, it may be acting ‘weirdly'. Take action if your computer:
- has unusual icons appearing on your desktop or Start menu
- has extra toolbars
- programs lock up frequently
- your homepage is changing
In some cases, unobtrusive or covert issues – such as keyboard logging or spyware – may not be obvious. You should review your online transactions regularly. Also ensure all activity has been initiated by you and email us to report anything that seems suspicious or odd.
Protect your mobile device
- Don't fall for SMS phishing – fraudsters can change the sender info, so they may appear to be from a trusted source. These text messages often use scare tactics and contain links to fake websites in an attempt to capture your passwords and other sensitive information.
- Keep your operating system and apps updated – go to iTunes for Apple devices, Samsung or Google Play Store for Android devices and the Microsoft or Windows Phone Store for Windows devices.
- Stay clear of unsafe or fake apps – only download apps from official app stores and never from a link within an email or SMS.
- Protect your device with a reputable security app – you can find security apps and their reviews in the stores listed above – which store you visit depends on the type of device you use.
- Tighten your mobile service security – call your mobile service provider and ask if they can add security measures (key questions, etc.) to your account and call them immediately if you notice unexpected or unusual service outages.
- Use a passcode to protect access to your mobile device and access to your apps – This is particularly important if you have apps linked to PayPal, or with stored credit card payment details.
- Be wary of scams – use caution when receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be from a reputable organisation and consider what they are asking for. Never give them remote access to your computer. If in doubt, ask for a reference number and call back on a trusted number (i.e. from the phone book) to confirm the call was genuine.
- Use caution opening emails – you may receive phishing emails that contain links or malicious attachments that could capture your banking details, harm your device or lock your important files.
- Regularly change passwords for everything online – use strong passwords and set a reminder to change them every couple of months.
- Always look for the padlock – checking for the SSL secure connection symbol – a locked padlock in the browser bar to the left of the website name.
- Don’t use links to get to important sites (like banking) – type in www.westpac.co.nz rather than using a favourite bar or button. Be sure to never use the links received by SMS or Email to directly access online banking.
- Protect your identity – never provide your personal or security details, including customer ID or passwords, in response to any email or SMS, even if it looks legitimate.
- Regularly check your bank accounts – for any suspicious transactions
- Securely dispose of sensitive documents – don't simply throw your bank documents, bills etc. in the bin. These should be shredded or otherwise destroyed.
- Secure your mailbox – use a padlock or PO Box and report any missing mail to the relevant provider.
- Be cautious what you share through your social media accounts – take steps to understand your privacy settings and ensure you only share what you want with who you want. Don’t share things like your date of birth, work information & contact details, or consider not providing them at all.
Protect your business
- Regularly change passwords – on all software and databases e.g. accounting software.
- Keep data safe – implementing a regular backup procedure is a simple way to safeguard critical business data. Setting user PC permissions and encrypting your databases will also help.
- Be on the lookout for business scams – verify all emails and calls claiming to be from a provider or someone in your company before performing any requests.
- Implement a cyber security strategy – to counter the evolving online threats. E.g. ensuring secure remote access protocol and setting up firewall rules.
- Protect your website – consider making use of a controlled 3rd party 'ethical hack', which can objectively assess and mitigate the risks for your business’s online security, independent of any vendor or supplier.
The basic must-dos to keep yourself safe online
Online fraudsters take advantage of poor security systems, entering computers through scam emails, when you navigate to certain pages online, or download software bundled with dangerous programs.
Here are some dos and dont's to consider
|Double check a suspicious sender before you open or reply to an email
||Open emails from people or organisations you don’t know or trust
|Scan all email attachments for viruses
||Click on any link in an email that asks you to respond with personal information
|Always delete your junk mail
||Click on an email link from an unknown sender that asks you to pay bills or log onto a secure service
||Use a preview pane within your email account – this is the equivalent to opening an email automatically
Some viruses forward infected mail to entries in an address book. Therefore, you can also get an infected attachment from someone you know.
If you frequently receive suspicious or unsolicited emails, you should consider installing a spam filter or getting that service from your Internet Service Provider.
Check you’re on Westpac’s official site before logging in
Before you log in to online banking, check you’re connecting directly to the real Westpac online banking service. Do this by:
- checking for the SSL secure connection symbol – a locked padlock
- double-clicking on the padlock symbol. Our certificate has been "digitally signed" by either Entrust or Verisign.
When viewing our online banking certificate always ensure that:
- it’s been 'Issued to' bank.westpac.co.nz or sec.westpac.co.nz or bol.westpac.co.nz
- the 'Issued by' section refers to www.entrust.com
- the date specified is within a valid date range.
If the certificate details differ from this, don’t log in. Email us for further assistance and include a screen shot of the certificate in your email (if you can).
Keep your online banking password safe
It’s a no-brainer, but make sure your online banking password is safe:
- never give your online banking password to anyone
- Note: no Westpac staff member should ever ask you for your password for any reason.
- don't write passwords down or store them in a file on your computer – you also shouldn't use 'form-fill', AutoComplete or other similar password storage functions in your browser settings.
- select a password that’s difficult to guess and change it regularly – we'll give you a prompt every 60 days. We suggest that you don't use any of the following: family, pet or street names, birth dates or other data easily connected to you.
- don't use the same password for different websites.
- ensure that no one can see your keyboard when you enter your Customer ID and password – this is especially relevant if using a public or work PC.
Sign up for email and text alerts
Signing up for our email and text alerts can help you keep tabs on your online banking activity, so you know if someone else has used your login ID or tried to make transactions. Just set this up in Westpac One.
More about email and text alerts
How Westpac keeps you safe online