Security threats to IT data and systems

Businesses face many external and internal digital threats that can corrupt hardware and compromise data. Your private data and intellectual property could be used in e-crimes or fraud.

Malware, viruses, spam and cookies

Malicious software or malware spreads worms, viruses, Trojans and spyware through:

  • email attachments
  • files on removable storage devices
  • visits to infected websites.

Hackers use malware to control your computer remotely, steal or destroy information (including passwords), corrupt hardware and software, or spread malware.

Spam or junk emails promote fake or non-existent products and services such as get-rich-quick schemes, false prize or lottery wins, or fraudulent and poor-quality goods.

Read more about spam containing malicious code.

Cookies track your website visits and can build a profile of your online interests and buying habits, and report these details to third parties.

Online scams, phishing and pharmers

Online scams and fraudulent websites or emails are designed to trick you into revealing sensitive information including bank account details, passwords or credit card numbers.

Phishing uses fraudulent emails claiming to be from a trusted sender, such as a bank, to 'fish' for information. Pharming occurs when a hacker infects your computer with a malicious code and directs you or your customers to a fake website. Both are used for online identity theft or cyberfraud.

Learn more about phishing from the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Hackers, cybercrime and information/IP theft

Sophisticated and complex e-crime includes the theft of information or intellectual property, such as trademarks or customer credit card details. Hackers illegally access your hardware and data to use information such as credit card details for cyberfraud, and can corrupt or compromise your online security.

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