Australian Mutual Bank is committed to helping our members stay safe online and has educational resources available to help highlight the vital role strong passwords play in safeguarding online accounts.

We’ve put together some information aimed to enhance our members’ understanding of the vital role strong passwords play in safeguarding your bank account. Through a series of articles, we've delved into the intricacies of password security, explored the techniques employed by cybercriminals, and equipped you with the knowledge to fortify your defence against potential breaches and fraudulent activities.

Here is a recap of all the key points from our Strong Passwords education program:

Protect your Internet Banking with strong passwords

As internet banking gains popularity, so does the risk of scams and cyber attacks targeting Australians.

Alarming statistics from 2022 reveal substantial financial losses due to phishing and investment scams, particularly affecting older users.

The importance of strong passwords is highlighted by the fact that data breaches often involve stolen credentials. Weak passwords, password reuse, and relaxed security practices can compromise online accounts, especially in critical areas like internet banking.

By prioritising password security, individuals can significantly contribute to the protection of their financial information and accounts.

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How to keep your banking passwords safe

With the surge in cybercrime and data breaches, it is crucial for internet users to prioritise the security of their online accounts.

Research highlights the alarming rate of data breaches and cyber attacks, revealing a significant risk to personal information.

Many individuals exhibit risky behaviours, such as sharing passwords or writing them down, which can lead to unauthorised access. Reusing passwords across multiple accounts further compounds this vulnerability. Strengthening password safety is vital; creating complex passphrases and regularly updating passwords can deter hackers. Embracing password managers and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) provides enhanced protection by securely storing credentials and requiring multiple proofs of identity.

As the threat of cybercrime persists, employing these strategies becomes essential for safeguarding financial and personal information.

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The consequences of weak banking passwords

Using weak passwords poses significant risks, enabling fraudsters to gain unauthorised access to online accounts, leading to financial losses and identity theft.

As major security breaches become more frequent, Australians are increasingly exposed to personal information losses, highlighting the need for improved cybersecurity practices. Weak passwords, such as short or easily guessed phrases, default system passwords, or reused credentials, make individuals vulnerable to scams and cyber attacks.

Cybercriminals exploit these practices, targeting accounts for quick access and potential profit. Compromised passwords allow hackers to engage in fraudulent activities, causing financial harm and even identity impersonation. Businesses also suffer financially and reputational damage due to compromised passwords.

To mitigate risks, individuals are advised to use encrypted password managers, implement Two-Factor Authentication, change passwords regularly, avoid reuse, and refrain from sharing passwords.

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What to do if you suspect your password has been compromised?

Discovering a compromised password can lead to significant financial and emotional turmoil.

Unauthorised access to your bank account can result in fund depletion, illicit transactions, and personal data theft, exacerbating financial challenges in times of high inflation and living costs. The emotional impact includes feelings of violation and mistrust in financial institutions.

Swift action is vital. Contact our team to report irregularities, then change your passwords, opting for strong, complex passphrases. Monitor your credit report for unusual changes and consider using credit monitoring services. Implement Two-Factor Authentication for enhanced security. Scan devices for malware and seek support from friends, family, professionals, or support services to navigate the distressing situation.

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Keeping up with the rising threat of hackers

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, protecting oneself from cybercriminals has become increasingly challenging. Malicious attacks, accounting for 70% of data breaches, surged by 41% in the latter half of 2022, as reported by the Office of the Australian Information Commission (OAIC).

Hackers now employ sophisticated tactics, exemplified by techniques like phishing, where they impersonate trusted companies to deceive individuals into divulging sensitive information. Brute force attacks exploit weak passwords, and man-in-the-middle attacks intercept and manipulate communications.

Recent high-profile breaches highlight the far-reaching consequences, including financial loss, identity theft, and reputational damage. As hackers grow more adept, personal vigilance, strong password security, and Two-Factor Authentication emerge as crucial defences against cyber threats.

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Prioritising strong password security is paramount in safeguarding your online banking accounts. By staying informed about the risks of weak passwords and following these tips on adopting strong password habits, you are actively contributing to a more secure digital landscape. Your commitment to these measures not only shields your financial well-being but also bolsters the collective defence against cyber threats.

Additional resources

Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) - The ACSC is a trusted government source for cybersecurity information. They provide various resources and guidelines on password security and protecting your online accounts.

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) - The OAIC website is the hub for privacy, data protection, and information access in Australia. It offers resources on privacy laws, guidelines for organisations, and information for individuals. The OAIC ensures responsible data practices and protects personal information.

Scamwatch - Operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Scamwatch is a service dedicated to alerting, educating, and protecting individuals and businesses from scams. It empowers people to recognise and avoid fraud through alerts, resources, and reporting mechanisms. By collecting and analysing data, Scamwatch assists in countering scams effectively, contributing to a safer environment and preventing financial losses.

07 September 2023