Only one in five aware of cyber security breach

Only one in five aware of cyber security breach

New research from Australia’s national computer emergency response team CERT Australia and the University of Canberra has revealed that only one-in-five organisations are aware they have experienced a “cyber incident” in the past 12 months.

Researchers surveyed more than 250 organisations from 11 industry sectors in Australia to find out about cyber security and what businesses are doing to keep themselves, and customers, safe online from hackers.

Of those who had experienced cyber attacks, 17 percent experienced a loss of confidential information and 10 percent suffered from financial fraud, according to the survey. Of those incidents, a third were infected with a virus and 21 percent with malware, despite 90 percent of respondents having some form of firewall or anti-virus software in place and two-thirds having IT experts on staff.

When it came to reporting cyber attacks, 44 percent admitted they had not reported the incident to anyone outside their organisation, with the main reason being a fear of negative publicity.

In recent years, security lapses have put millions of Australians (and several organisations’ reputations) at risk.

A 2012 attack on networking site LinkedIn saw hackers steal more than 6 million users’ passwords before posting 165,000 online. In November 2011, hackers penetrated computers at the Reserve Bank of Australia in an email phishing scam targeting employees. While in April that same year Sony’s online network for the PlayStation suffered a catastrophic failure through a hacking attack when users’ names, addresses and other confidential information including credit card numbers were compromised.

As a result, many Australian organisations are investing heavily in online security; more than half the organisations survey by CERT had increased expenditure on IT security in the previous 12 months.

How to stay safe online

Banks and other financial institutions, for instance, use a combination of safeguards to protect consumers’ information, such as strict privacy policies, encryption systems and have systems in place to constantly monitor online transactions.

While there’s no absolute safeguard against fraud, by following a few simple precautions you can help to protect yourself online. The Australian Bankers’ Association and the Australian High Tech Crime Centre offer these tips:

  • Never provide personal details including customer ID or passwords, in response to any e-mail. A bank will never ask you for your private password and this important information should never be shared with anyone.
  • Never click on a link or attachment in an e-mail which purportedly sends you to a bank’s website. Only access your bank’s Internet banking logon page by typing the address into your browser.
  • Be wary of any e-mail from someone you do not know or trust – delete without opening any e-mails that you think are suspicious.
  • Always check your statements for any transactions that look suspicious. If you see any transactions that you did not undertake, immediately report this to your bank.
  • Most ‘phishing’ e-mails do not address you by your proper name because they are sent out en masse to thousands of recipients. They sometimes contain typing errors and grammatical mistakes, even if they include the banks’ registered logos.
  • Install software that will filter spam e-mail or use an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that will filter spam prior to delivery at your Inbox. Spam filters are often included in antivirus software.

Finally, when comparing credit cards and other financial products read the product disclosure statement and the institutions’ fraud protection information, or for more information contact the provider directly.

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Learn more about credit cards

How to make a credit card online

If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.

How do I apply for a credit card online?

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

Can I get a credit card on part-time/casual work?

Yes, as credit card providers look at your annual income amount as well as your occupation. Minimum income requirements tend to be between $30,000 – $40,000 for standard and rewards credit cards, however low income credit cards can have minimum income requirements as low as $15,000 per year.

What happens if I have a bad credit score?

If you have a bad credit score, you might encounter two main problems. First, the lower your credit score, the more likely you are to be rejected when you apply for a loan or any other credit product. Second, if your application is accepted, the less likely you are to qualify for the lowest interest rates.

Why should I check my credit rating?

There are two reasons you should check your credit rating: so you have a better understanding of your financial position, and so you can take action (if necessary) to improve your credit rating.

Lenders use credit ratings or credit scores to assess loan applications. The higher your score, the more likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged lower interest rates and lower fees. Conversely, the lower your credit score, the less likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged higher interest rates and higher fees.

Why do different credit reporting bureaus use different scores?

The reason Equifax, Experian and Illion use different scores is because they are independent companies with their own different methodologies. As a result, a score of, say, 700 would mean different things at different credit reporting bureaus.

However, the one thing they have in common is that they divide their scores into five tiers. So if you receive a tier-two credit score from one bureau, you will probably receive a tier-two score from the others, as well.

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card. 

How long does it take to get a credit card?

There are a few stages you need to go through to get a credit card; each one takes a different length of time.

Applying for the card online, over the phone or in person is the fastest step. This usually takes around 15 minutes, provided you have all of your documents handy.

After submitting your application, it usually takes between one to 10 business days for the lender to assess your eligibility. Some lenders offer instant approval, although you will need to send supporting documents before it is official.

Once your application has been approved, expect to wait between one to 14 days to receive your card in the mail. Keep in mind that delays can happen during busy periods, such as if the lender has launched a special deal.

What's the best credit card for rewards?

There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice. 

Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward. 

How to get cash with just a credit card number

Banks and merchants usually will not allow you to access cash without a physical card, because doing so would open up opportunities for fraudulent activities. Even most non-cash credit card transactions (such as shopping online) require you to know the expiry date and CVV on your credit card in addition to the card number.

However, some banks offer cardless cash for transaction accounts. Using a secure app installed on your mobile phone, you can log onto an ATM and withdraw the money you need. This could be a practical and secure solution if you don’t have a card and need cash.

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.