At G&C Mutual Bank the security of our members is one of our key priorities. As online banking is the preferred method of banking for Australians and the usage of mobile banking apps increases in popularity, the threat of scammers and cybercriminals continues to be present. It is more important than ever that our members continue to be vigilant to scams and ensure their passwords are strong and unique.
The importance of a strong password
A strong password is crucial for online banking for several reasons:
Protecting personal information: A strong password acts as the first line of defence against unauthorised access. A strong password can help to protect your personal information from hackers and identity thieves.
Protecting your bank account: Use a strong access code of 12 characters, using a combination of upper case and lower case letters, numbers and other symbols. Never use sequential number patterns or personal information, such as a birthdate or anniversary, which might be easy to guess or gather from social media pages. A strong access code adds an extra layer of security to your G&C Mutual Bank account.
Avoiding password guessing: Hackers often use sophisticated software and techniques to guess people's passwords. A strong password reduces the chances of password guessing or brute-force attacks.
Countering phishing attacks: Phishing is a common tactic used by cybercriminals to trick individuals into revealing their personal information. A strong password makes it difficult for scammers to access your account even if you have been victim in a phishing scam.
Meeting security requirements: Change your password regularly and use a strong access code, as above. It is a condition of the G&C Mutual Bank Terms and Conditions that your passcode does not represent your birth date or a recognisable part of your name.
Safeguarding against password breaches: A password breach is where a database containing user passwords is compromised. Weak and commonly used passwords put accounts at risk if you are involved in such a breach. A strong and unique password ensures that even if a password breach happens elsewhere, your G&C Mutual Bank account remains separated and less likely to be compromised.
What is password hacking?
Password hacking continues to be a significant threat in Australia. Here are the types of password hacking that are, unfortunately, common Australia:
Password breaches: A password breach is a data breach, where a cybercriminal gains access to data which contains individuals’ passwords. Cybercriminals then exploit these stolen credentials to gain unauthorised access to various accounts.
Credential stuffing: This technique involves using stolen username and password combinations from one data breach and trying them on other platforms to gain access to additional accounts. Password reuse significantly increases the risk of credential stuffing attacks.
Brute force attacks: This is where a cybercriminal uses sophisticated automated software to attempt a large number of password combinations until they find the right one or are blocked by a company’s security measures. These attacks exploit weak passwords and guessable patterns to gain unauthorised access to accounts.
How to set a strong password
Here are some tips to help you choose a strong password and keep your G&C Mutual Bank account safe:
- Choose a password that is 12 characters in length and includes a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters, and symbols.
- Don’t use your birthday, address, pet’s name or other easily accessible personal details in your passwords. This kind of information can be easily obtained from your social media profile.
- Use a unique password for each of your online accounts. This will help you to contain any account if you are victim in a password breach elsewhere.
If you find it difficult to remember passwords, you can consider using a passphrase. These are often easier to remember while being difficult to guess. Learn more about passphrases at the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).
Keeping your passwords secure
Password security is as important as setting a strong password. Here are some tips to keep your password safe:
- Never share your passwords with anyone
- Use multi-factor authentication where possible
- Avoid saving your passwords on your device that could be easily accessed or hacked
- Don’t write your passwords down anywhere, consider using a password storage solution
- Make sure no one can see you or is watching while you enter a password
- Change your passwords regularly, and if you suspect your password has been compromised change it immediately.
To understand how we help to keep you safe, please refer to our Security page and for information on common scams or security threats and how to protect yourself, please visit the News section of our website.
If you believe someone has gained access to your personal information, even if it appears unrelated to your finances, you should contact your bank immediately. A timely response can be critical in giving you the best chance to stem any loss.