Internet security - tips and tricks

The internet can make life a lot easier, especially when it comes to banking. It's important to practice safe habits when you're online though, so keep these tips in mind when you're browsing the internet.

Do you think you've been targeted by an online or phone scam? Please contact us on 0800 327 863. ASB takes security seriously and we'll do everything we can to help you.


Check the website you're on

If you're making financial transactions online, make sure you check the address bar first. URLs starting with https:// signify secure connections. Another thing to look out for is the padlock symbol next to the URL. You can click on these to see the level of security the website is using.


Be careful with emails

Think of emails like postcards. It's easy for people to read anything you send. Take care with sending personal information via email, especially account numbers and passwords.

Emails are also a common way to spread harmful viruses or trick people into revealing personal details. This is called phishing; read more on our guide about scams and phishing.


Keep your computer secure and up-to-date

Connecting to the internet can open your computer up to various problems. However, there are some simple solutions to help keep you safe.

Install anti-virus software

Viruses and worms are malicious pieces of software that can compromise your computer and cause all sorts of problems. They can get in through email attachments, downloads from websites or software you install from a CD, DVD or USB drive.

Good security software will help protect your computer against this threat, whatever your operating system. Even if you already have anti-virus software, you need to regularly update it to stay safe. It's also a good idea to regularly schedule full system virus scans of your computer. There are a number of reputable anti-virus products on the market. These include Norton Anti-virus, McAfee, TrendMicro, Kaspersky and AVG.

Many of these companies provide full internet security software packages that include everything you need to keep your home computer safe. We recommend visiting their websites, doing your own research and talking to a computer savvy friend to help choose the best one for you.

Get anti-spyware software

Spyware is another type of file that can find its way onto your computer and tell other people what you're doing online. In its worst form, spyware can be used to access personal information such as bank accounts or credit card details. Like anti-virus software, you should always use up-to-date anti-spyware software to help keep your information safe. Some of the major anti-virus products include anti-spyware. Other free anti-spyware products include: Ad-ware and Spybot.

Use a personal firewall

A personal firewall is your first line of defense between your computer and the outside world. It will help control who can access your computer and also protect you from viruses and any other unwelcome visitors. Modern versions of popular desktop operating systems typically have personal firewall features. Check that they are turned on if you don't have another firewall product.

There are a number of reputable personal firewall products available, including: Norton Anti-virus, McAfee, TrendMicro, Kaspersky and AVG.

If you're on a budget, you can download free or low-cost firewall software from companies like Zone Labs.

Keep your software up-to-date

One of the most important ways to keep your computer safe is to make sure it has all the latest security software updates. These updates are usually free and they're released regularly to fix holes in a computer's operating system. You can either choose automatic software updates, or regularly check with your software vendor to find out if operating system updates are available.

Keep your browser up-to-date

The most imporatant software to keep updated is your internet browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari). All of these major browsers release security patches. These are important to apply. You should also update any other applications installed like Adobe Reader or browser components like Java, or Adobe Flash, to make sure they have the latest security patches.


Using your Mobile and Wi-Fi connections

Beware of public or shared computers

Be extremely wary of using other computers or publicly accessible Wi-Fi networks (e.g. in an internet café, library or university) to access online banking. It's impossible to know if they have up-to-date protection and it's also easy for other people to watch what you're doing.

If you must access internet banking from a public computer or publicly accessible Wi-Fi network, we recommend enabling Netcode at sign in and changing your internet banking password regularly.

Phones and mobile internet

If you have a smart phone you need to take care of the things you download in just the same way as your home computer. You should only install applications from trust-worthy sources, always keep your phone operating system and applications up-to-date and set a PIN or password to protect your phone from unauthorised use.

If you ever think your phone has been compromised by malicious software, call 0800 327 863 to have your internet banking password reset, or through FastNet internet banking or the mobile app.

Banking on your phone

If you use the mobile version of FastNet, you'll need to enter your access code and password as well as a Netcode if you've enabled it. It's important to keep your access code and password safe - and also a good idea to make sure that you're not being overlooked when using mobile banking (e.g. on the bus) or leave your phone unattended. For added protection, it's also good practice to have a security PIN on your mobile phone.


Stay safe on social media

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare and LinkedIn are a great way to keep in contact with friends and colleagues. But they also give cyber criminals another way of gathering information about you. To protect yourself while using these social networking sites:

  • Change your security settings to make sure your profile pages are only available to people you trust.
  • Never publish personal information like your birthday, driver's license number, credit card number, tax file number or bank account details. This includes photos as well as text posts. This is also valid for personal details like your home address or phone number.
  • If you want to publish an email address, set one up that's different than your usual home or work email address.
  • Access the official ASB Social Media accounts through the Twitter and Facebook logos on our site, to ensure you're accessing our legitimate pages.


Be wary about short URLs

Short URLs can be really handy in social media because they're easy to paste or type. Unfortunately, you have no real idea which site a short URL is linking to. This means there is an opportunity for abuse by cybercriminals and scammers.

ASB has set up a special short URL service (asb.co) so you'll always know that our short URLs were created by us (e.g. http://asb.co/dVr3Y8). If you receive an email that looks like it's from ASB, but contains suspicious looking URLs, report it to phishing@asb.co.nz. If you accidentally click a suspicious link, change your banking password immediately through FastNet internet banking or the mobile app, or by calling us on 0800 327 863.


Be careful around location services

More of us are adding GPS information to social media updates so that friends and colleagues can see where we are. This can be fun and very handy from time to time.

But criminals may also be able to use this information to see who is tweeting, where they are, what their interests are and more. It's then relatively easy to use this information to craft a targeted attack. So always be wary about sharing location information with untrusted sources - and be extremely ware about contacting strangers online.

Contact us

Call us

If you are concerned that there has been a breach in your ASB account security, contact us immediately.

0800 327 863

Suspicious email or SMS message?

Forward any suspicious looking emails to phishing@asb.co.nz.

If you receive a suspicious SMS message please delete it.

If you’re concerned about either an email or SMS you’ve received, call us on 0800 327 863.

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ASBInternet security - tips and tricks