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What is a Malware?

Malware, short for malicious software, is a common method cyber criminals use to access your devices, service or network. Malware is often hidden in links or attachments, in emails or SMS, but can also be downloaded via malicious advertisements, unauthorised software installations or even infected apps.

Viruses, trojans, spyware and ransomware are all types of malware.

What they're after

Malware is used to gain access to your data which cybercriminals may use for financial gain. This data could be anything, such as your banking details, healthcare records, personal emails, or passwords. The possibilities of what sort of information can be compromised have become endless.

Signs you may have

  • Your browser redirects your searches.
  • Frequent pop-up warnings.
  • Your device is slow.
  • Important information changes such as payment details or transfers to a new payee.

Take your device to a professional IT technician for assistance.

Common ways malware may be downloaded to your device

An email or text asks you to open an attachment or has a link to an internet site.

Be wary. Is it from their usual address something they would usually send, does it feel right, and does the link address look right?

An internet site offers free software, games, music, movies or videos.

Be wary. These sites may load malicious software onto your device.

Someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks you to download software or access your computer.

Do not follow their directions, download software or give someone access to your device.

Who should I contact and examples of malware

  • Please report scams or suspicious activity immediately to Westpac at 132 032 or 61 2 9155 7700 (if calling from overseas).
  • Forward suspicious emails to or sms/text messages to 0497 132 032 then delete the email or message.
  • Report all suspicious activity to the Australian Cyber Security Centre at
  • Contact IDCARE toll-free on 1800 595 160 or visit their website They provide free, confidential support and guidance to people who have been targeted by fraud, scams, identity theft or compromise.
  • Keep up to date on scams by subscribing to the government's scam email alerts from
  • Check out our latest scams, for copies of recently reported scams at

Latest Scams

To stay in the loop, and stay protected, check out our list of the latest phishing scams impersonating Westpac.

Report a scam

If you receive any suspicious calls, emails or SMS messages, or notice unusual activity on your account, it’s important that you let us know.

Security Wellbeing Check

To help keep you up to date with the latest security features, we’ve introduced the Security Wellbeing Check. Found in the Westpac App, it checks your Westpac settings and suggests how you can improve the security of your banking facilities.

Things you should know

* Examples are based on one or more real scam reports received by Westpac. For privacy purposes real names have not been used.