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Cyber Security - How to Protect Yourself

Andrew Metcalfe —

We have some useful advice for Faith Communities and individuals along with a new guidance document.

Cyber Security Guidelines

We now have a document that gives comprehensive guidance for churches and individuals on how to keep your systems safe (also attached below).  We encourage vestries to use this document a help assess what you may need to do - please contact the Diocesan Office if you need particular help or further explanations and we will try and point you in the right direction. The information below is designed to give you a heads up on what you need to know (as is explained in depth in the guidelines. 

Thanks to the Very Rev'd Tony Curtis and Jacob Hurd-Vial for pulling this resource together.

Cyber Security: Ongoing Scams

Recently there have been a number of cyber incidents happening over many social media and communications platforms (TXT, email etc). WhatsApp and TXT scams are rift at the moment.

As always, be vigilant to any odd/suspicious behaviour like this that you see in messages or emails you receive - please follow these simple rules to keep safe:

  • If you don’t know the sender, the best advice is to ignore and delete the message.
  • If you do know the sender, but not the context, give the person a phone call to confirm legitimacy. Check phones number relating to Accounts (over WhatApps etc) if you are suspicious
  • Look for grammatical errors and the language used - these can be indicators that its not the person you know.
  • Be wary of clicking links in emails if you don’t recognise the sender. Malicious content can try to access the system this way. If in doubt, please let us know immediately and we can have it checked out.

Report a scam / fake account on WhatApp

There have a number of occurrences where people are receiving messages over WhatsApp from people posing as people within the Diocese and ask for money or gift vouchers. Checking the phone number relating to any suspicious accounts can often expose them as a scammer so please report them using the instructions below.

1. From the drop-down menu click More options.

2. Click Report/Report Spam.

3. Make sure that Block contact and delete messages from chat is checked.

4. Click Report to send report to WhatsApp, block the user, and delete messages.

Report a scam on WhatApp — Image by: Diocese of Waiapu

Cyber Security: What is Phishing?

Phishing — Image by: pixabay.com

Phishing is a type of email scam. The sender pretends to be a trustworthy organisation — like a bank or government agency — in an attempt to get you to provide them with personal information, particularly financial details. Phishing emails can look and feel legitimate. They can appear very convincing - even using the same design and logos as the company or organisation they’re pretending to be, along with the same kind of language.

How to spot a Phishing email:

Phishing emails often ask for:

  • your credit card information
  • your internet banking details
  • personal information and documents, including drivers licence and passport
  • usernames or passwords for your online accounts, including social media accounts.

This type of email aims to target specific groups, like customers of a particular bank, or staff from a particular organisation for example. Attackers send phishing messages to a list of email addresses, made up of contact details found on web pages and social media sites, or from other lists that are shared and sold online. In some cases they use guesswork, and send phishing emails to addresses that might be in use in the hope that they’ll reach someone’s inbox. It always pays to check the sender email address as this is often a good way to determine if its genuine - most official organisations aren’t going to have a gmail account!!

If you’ve received a phishing email…

If you think you’ve been sent a phishing email, here’s what to do next...

  • If you haven’t done anything with the email, simply ignore and delete it.
  • If you gave out some personal or financial details:
    • contact the service provider for your online accounts — like your bank or your email provider. Let them know what’s happened and ask what they can do to help.
    • change the passwords for any online accounts you think might be at risk.
    • get a free credit check done. This will let you see if any accounts have been opened in your name. There are three main credit check companies in NZ ( Centrix , Illion & Equifax). You can ask to have your credit record corrected if there’s any suspicious activity on it.

Cyber Security Reminder - Email SCAMS

Emails — Image by: pixabay.com

Just a general reminder to one and all that email SCAMS are still making the rounds so please be careful...

As always, be vigilant to any odd/suspicious behaviour that you see in emails you received. Recent scammer messages try to ask you for a favour and attempt to get you to contact them back or click on a link.

Here are some simple tips to help keep you safe:

  • Look at the sender email address: If you don’t know the sender, the best advice is to ignore and delete the message.
  • If you do know the sender, but not the context of the message, give the person a quick phone call to confirm if the message is legitimate.
  • Be wary of clicking links in emails if you don’t recognise the sender. Malicious content can try to access the system this way. If in doubt, please ignore and delete.

Scams can be reported to NetSafe via their website: www.netsafe.org.nz/report.

There are some great tips, articles & advice there to help keep you safe and informed.