Improving Your Online Security

What to consider when Improving Your Online Security

By taking some simple precautions, you can increase your level of online security. While technology has made things easier, nothing will protect you against fraud if you are careless with personal information. By keeping your personal information secure and being aware of security, you can play an important part in protecting your personal financial information and preventing fraud.

Listed below are areas you can focus on to keep your personal information secure.

  • Be Aware of Fraudulent Emails

    Be very cautious of emails that have a link to a website and/or an Internet Banking site that asks for personal details, your member number, your Internet Banking access code and/or credit card details.

    • Only click on a link in an email if you are absolutely certain that it is from a reliable source.
    • Do not click on emails where you do not know the sender or source and don’t be duped by great offers coming through email.
    • Think twice about forwarding an email with a “great offer” to a friend/relative.
    • If you receive a suspicious email (especially ones purporting to come from a financial institution), do not act on the instructions contained in the email.
    • Avoid opening suspicious or dubious emails or attachments, even if the email is from someone you trust (the email and attachment could have been forwarded automatically without the person’s knowledge).
    • You should not reply to “spam” emails or emails where you do not know the sender or source. It simply confirms that your email address is valid and you may receive further emails from them. You should simply delete the email.
    • Email is one of the prime movers for malicious viruses. Regardless of how enticing the “subject” or attachment may look, be cautious. Any unexpected email, especially one with attachments (from someone you may or may not know), could contain a virus and may have been sent without that person’s knowledge from an infected computer. Should you receive an email of this kind and you are doubtful of its legitimacy, delete it.

    What you should look out for
    You should be very cautious of any email that asks you to reply with or enter your personal details no matter how real it looks. Do not reply to emails that request your:

    • personal details
    • member number
    • Internet Banking access code and/or
    • credit card details

    We will not request such information via an email.

  • Protect Your Member Number/Access Code

    To access your accounts, you will need your member number (or user created login name) and a personal “password”. Your password protects the security of your information. Passwords will only keep outsiders out if they are kept secret!
    Here are a few helpful tips to assist you in choosing and using your access code:

    • Have a unique password for your internet banking. Avoid using the same password for different online applications. Doing so puts your money at risk should anyone discover your single access code
    • When choosing a password, select something that you will remember easily but which will not be obvious to others
    • Do not use your debit, credit or access PIN number or, your date of birth as your password. Avoid repeated digits or simple sequences; where possible use a combination of letters and numbers. Refrain from using your birth date, telephone number, car registration, postcode or other words and numbers easily linked to you personally
    • Keep your password confidential – you should not share or reveal your password to anyone. Do not disclose your password to anyone including a family member, friend or a Family First Credit Bank staff member.
    • As an additional safeguard, it is advised that you regularly change your password; we recommend every 30 days
    • Do not write your password down even if it is disguised.
    • Be wary of unsolicited calls or emails requesting personal information, password or card numbers.

    Note: change your password, or notify us as soon as you suspect your existing password has become known or used by someone else.
    Care should always be taken in unknown areas, like internet cafes: to prevent any other persons viewing your member number and password, this applies equally to people watching the keyboard or watching the mouse on the screen.

  • Log in Through the Correct Sites

    Only log in to Internet Banking by using the:

    • Internet Banking Login link on the top right of our web site

    Don’t forget to bookmark our home page in your favourites.
    Never access Internet Banking from a link in an email. If in doubt, contact us.

  • When using Internet Banking Look for the "Closed Padlock" Symbol at the Top or Bottom of your Web Browser

    When logging into or using Internet Banking, look for the closed padlock symbol at the bottom or top right corner of your web browser. You can double-click the padlock symbol to view the server security certificate’s details. The certificate informs your browser that the web site you are connected to is, in fact, Family First Credit Bank’s and not a “fake” site.

    The closed padlock images appear below.

  • When using Internet Banking Look for "https:/" in the Address Bar

    When using Internet Banking, check to see that you are correctly accessing our secure site by looking at the address bar at the top of your browser. Check to see that the web address begins with “https://”. Web addresses that begin with “https://” are secured (unsecured addresses start with “http://”).

  • Log Out After Using Internet Banking

    Always log out completely from Internet Banking and close the browser session after you have finished. When leaving your computer unattended, you should either shut it down or physically disconnect from the Internet connection. This lessens the chance that someone will be able to continue to use your current connection. We recommend that you do not access Internet Banking via public access computers, eg Internet cafes, universities etc.
    As an additional precaution, the Internet Banking system has been set to automatically log out after 5 minutes if your banking session remains unattended.

    Install a Firewall

    We recommend you install a ‘firewall’ to protect your computer from unauthorised access over the Internet. A firewall is a software program that filters all Internet traffic between your computer and the outside world. It works to either block or permit Internet traffic to and from your computer. You can use the firewall to protect your home or business computer and any personal information it holds from offensive websites, spam and unauthenticated logins from potential hackers.

    Major firewall providers include:

  • Control Spam

    Spam is all unsolicited electronic mail sent out in bulk to individuals that have not consented to receive it. “Spammers” use email addresses harvested from websites or procured by means without the owners’ consent.
    You can protect yourself from spam in a number of ways:

    Use Filters

    A filter is kind of software that sorts incoming emails and rejects those it considers spam.
    Spam filters can be very useful but are not perfect. Sometimes they block genuine messages (this is called a ‘false positive’). On other occasions they fail to identify real spam (this is called a ‘false negative’). Because of this, a good approach is to divert emails that have been identified as spam to a ‘spam folder’; this way you can manually review the diverted messages to check for any that are genuine.

    Protect your Email Address Online

    Spammers have typically used two techniques for gathering email addresses: ‘dictionary attacks’ and ‘harvesting’. While both of these techniques are now outlawed under the Spam Act 2003, you should still exercise caution.
    A dictionary attack occurs where a spammer sends out bulk emails to large numbers of possible addresses in the hope of locating a real email recipient. Harvesting refers to the process whereby a spammer finds your email address from a publicly available source, for instance where you have registered a domain name or just posted a message on a bulletin board. If you do supply your email address, try to limit the scope of subsequent communications (eg by ticking a box to indicate that you do not want to receive any further offers or information).
    Also, consider using different email addresses for different purposes. This will help to limit the amount of unwanted mail you receive to your main email address.

  • Protect your Email Address when Publishing it on Your Website

    If you want people to be able in touch with you through your website, you can limit the risk of spam by using a non-personal email address or setting up an online form for visitors to complete (rather than giving them your email address).
    For further information, click on the following links:

  • Update Virus/Spyware Protection


    A computer virus is a program that attaches itself to another program, but changes the action of that program so that the virus is able to spread. Anti-virus software is designed to protect you and your computer against known viruses, worms and Trojans. A Trojan is a malicious program disguised as something harmless, such as a game or a screen saver, which in fact contains hidden code that allows an intruder to possibly take control of your machine without your knowledge.
    New viruses are constantly appearing; viruses range from harmless pranks that merely show an annoying message, to programs that can destroy or disable a computer altogether.

    • It’s important that everyone who uses a computer is aware of proper security practices. Protect your computer with up-to-date antivirus software. You should regularly update your computer system with the latest anti-virus software.
    • Avoid opening, running, installing or using programs/files you have obtained from a person or organisation that you do not know you can trust, especially unsolicited email containing file attachments
    • Scan new programs/files/attachments for viruses before opening, running, installing or using them
    • Ensure you have the latest available updates and anti-virus definitions for your anti-virus software. Unless your software is kept up to date it will quickly become ineffective at preventing virus infection
    • You should regularly scan your computer with current anti-virus software to ensure your system is not infected by a virus

    Major antivirus software providers include:

    Visit the Internet Industry Association National AntiVirus Initiative to find out more.


    “Spyware” is the collective name given to software that is installed on your computer to secretly obtain information and send it back to another source. Spyware programs can be installed through a virus or as part of another software installation e.g. a ‘freeware’ program.

    Spyware can be removed from your computer by:

    • Running a spyware remover program: special programs such as Ad-aware can be used to remove spyware that has been installed onto your machine
    • Virus checking: scanning your machine with a virus checker can remove any virus related spyware;
    • Deleting cookies: deleting cookies from your browser can help spyware related problems; and
    • Installing a personal firewall: a personal firewall will stop unauthorised ‘attacks’ to your computer from spyware sources. A personal firewall is particularly important if you have a permanent, high-speed connection to the Internet.

    For more information on “spyware” detection tools, visit

  • Keep Your Computer Software Up to Date

    Virus writers and hackers look for vulnerable areas of software programs to gain unauthorised access to PCs. Publishers of software programs provide updates from time to time to solve vulnerabilities that are discovered in their programs. The publisher will normally release a security upgrade as a ‘patch’ to your existing program.

    You should check your computer security on a regular basis and download the latest security updates. To check for updates and patches you should visit the publisher’s website, typically in their ‘Download’ section.

    Use the latest version of your Internet browser: we use 128-bit technology in data encryption to protect your personal information. To take advantage of this feature you’ll need to ensure you are using the latest version of your Internet browser.

  • Disable Password AutoComplete Settings on your Internet Browser

    We recommend you consider disabling the auto password auto completion function on Internet Explorer by clicking on Options, Internet options, selecting the Content tab, clicking AutoComplete; deselect the ‘Use AutoComplete for user names and passwords on forms’ box. You can clear any stored passwords in this section also.

    In addition, do not download any computer software that remembers and pre-populates any of your access details required to logon to Internet Banking.

  • Keep Track of Your Records

    If you print or save copies of your account records/transactions, make sure these are kept in a secure location.
    If you suspect that an unauthorised transaction has occurred, please contact us immediately.

Useful Links and Tools

About Online Security
Our Online Communication Practices
Improving your Online Security
Online Security FAQs
Online Security Risks
Our Online Security Practices

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