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Protecting Your Computer

Stay as safe as possible by understanding how viruses and malware work, and how you can avoid them.


Malware (sometimes referred to as 'adware' or 'spyware' or 'trojans') is any program on your computer that tracks or records your activities on a computer with or without your knowledge. It may:

  • Be a simple tool (usually in the form of cookies) used by advertisers to track what sites you are browsing
  • Make your computer very slow
  • Change the look of your computer and open up websites automatically that you don't normally visit
  • Hijack instant messaging software or social websites you use
  • Capture screenshots or turn on webcams

Follow these tips to help prevent your computer from becoming infected with malware:

  • Ensure you install and enable a firewall on your computer before connecting to the Internet
  • Download and regularly use a malware removal program.
  • Use discretion and common sense when using the Internet. Don't click on untrustworthy online advertisements/emails or go to similarly untrustworthy sites
  • Be careful when downloading excel files or files ending in '.exe' as they are prone to containing malware

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Be Password Smart

  • Always choose 'easy to remember, but hard to guess' passwords, and change them regularly.
  • Choose passwords that have a mix of numbers and upper and lower case letters.
  • Never use 'easy to guess' passwords such as:
            1. your date of birth
            2. consecutive numbers
            3. a series of the same number
            4. a sequence from the associated account number
            5. historically significant dates
            6. a driver's licence number
            7. an alphabetical code that is a recognisable part of your name
            8. our phone number or part thereof
  • Don’t share your passwords with anyone.
  • You may record your secret access codes i.e. your Telephone Access Code, Customer ID or Internet Banking password, to help you remember them but they must be reasonably disguised so that it is not obvious to another person what these records contain.
  • Do not keep your customer ID or your password written down together.
  • The Suncorp Secured App adds an extra level of security for your account.

For Suncorp Internet Banking, your password must:

  • Be six to eight characters long

 To improve security, it should:

  • contain both numbers and letters
  • include upper and lower case letters (your password is case sensitive).

What are computer viruses and how do I identify them?

  • Computer viruses are programs designed to deliberately damage, delete or steal information, or place a computer or mobile device under control of a criminal.
  • Like Malware, you can unknowingly install a computer virus by clicking on a link in an email or visiting an infected website.
  • It can be hard to tell if your computer has a computer virus. Your computer may slow down, stop responding, or crash and restart every few minutes. These are all common symptoms of computer viruses; however, they can also be caused by hardware or software problems.
  • If you think that your computer may have a computer virus, update your anti-virus software and scan your computer. If this does not fix your problem, consider seeking assistance from a suitably qualified computer specialist.
  • If you experienced a computer virus, you should change your Internet Banking password immediately.

Example of a trojan on Internet Banking (a pop-up that appears on the logon page)


Antivirus Protection

  • An anti-virus program is software that detects and deletes computer viruses. Anti-virus software can also identify viruses hidden in files before you even download them.
  • To gain maximum protection from viruses:
    1. Regularly scan your computer with your anti-virus software. Most software can do this for you automatically.
    2. Avoid using shared computers (e.g. at an Internet cafe) as you may be unable to check whether the anti-virus software is up-to-date.
    3. Ensure your Operating System (e.g. MS Windows, Mac OS X), browser and any plug-ins or viewers (eg. adobe pdf viewer, flash viewer, java, shockwave) are     updated regularly with the latest security patches.

Firewall Protection

A firewall is a layer that helps protect your computer and its contents from outsiders on the Internet. It prevents unauthorised access to and from your computer. Most firewalls allow you to specify what programs are able to use the Internet to send and receive information. This stops non-trusted information travelling in and out of your computer.

If you use Windows, a built-in firewall is available, but using a separate firewall should add another level of protection for your computer. 

Got a Question?

Ask Scout, the Suncorp Virtual Assistant