Cyber Security Month: Online Scams

October 16, 2018

Are You Protecting Yourself Online? 

Cyber Security Month: Are You Protecting Yourself Online - Man cyber hacking on computer. Protect Yourself Online Banner.

We want to help you protect yourself online, and October is the perfect time to do so, as it is Cyber Security Awareness Month, bringing forward the importance of protecting yourself online. Technology and the world of ‘the internet’ are rapidly growing, and it can be hard to stay on top of all the different rules and know-how’s in regards to cyber security. 

Protecting yourself – your identity and assets – are vital in today’s world.

Cyber Quote: "True cyber security is preparing for what's next, not what was last" - Neil Rerup

Carry on reading to find out: what common mistakes you’re making according to the facts; learn the different types of online scams; pick up some simple quick solutions and tips to take the first steps into protecting yourself; and learn how to practice cyber security safety long term.

Common Mistakes: The Facts


Emails are still one of the biggest problems in regards to online scams.

97% of people cannot recognise a phishing scam email according to a survey put out from Intel Security in 2015.

Phishing is the practice of sending an email pretending to be from a reputable company in order to gain personal information, such as credit card details and passwords, or to infect the user’s computer with malware in order to gain unauthorised access.

An example of this is the ATO Email Scam. 

The email claims to be from the ATO and usually offer a tax refund. Generally, they link to a fake ATO website asking for personal and credit card details. One version of this scam contains an attachment infected with a virus.

If you receive an email like this, do not open the attachment or click on the link.

Microsoft Attachments

According to CISCO’s 2018 Cyber Security Annual Report, in the section ‘Malicious file extensions in email’, they discovered in their analysis that Microsoft Office attachments in emails are the most malicious. Archives, such as .zip files, were a close second. 

Donut chart on malicious file extensions. Office: 38%. Archives: 37%. PDF: 14%. Other extensions

NOT opening these types of attachments from emails you do not trust or recognise in your contact list is highly advised. Despite how curious you may be, it’s better to just delete them. This is one of the ways you can protect yourself online. 

Quick Solutions: Protect Yourself Online

Below are some simple steps to protect yourself online, this will also bring about long term awareness through actively doing these.

  1. Use a password management program
  2. Enable 2 factor when available (Even Facebook has it! What is 2 Factor Authentication?)
  3. Don’t use the same passwords for different online accounts
  4. Always keep your devices updated
  5. Back up your data regularly
  6. Look for the padlock next to your URL when making online transactions or accessing personal information
Browser Padlocks – (Left to Right) Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox.

People should use a password management program that makes it easy to create a unique password per site they register with.

Adam Shostack – Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle strategy team member

Hopefully you feel able to protect yourself online a little better, it’s a bunch of small steps that turn into one journey, and that journey is to cyber security safety.