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Survey shows Southeast Asians aware of online threats, do little to protect themselves

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Are you afraid of entering your credit card information or banking details on a shopping site or a payment app? You’re not alone.

Global cybersecurity and digital privacy company Kaspersky’s latest report, “Making Sense of Our Place in the Digital Reputation Economy”, shows that some types of personal information are sacred to social-media users in Southeast Asia.
Financial information such as credit or debit-card details tops the list with 76 per cent of 861 respondents in the region confirming their intent to keep their money-related data away from the internet.

This sentiment is highest among Baby Boomers (85 per cent), followed by Gen X (81 per cent), and Millennials (75 per cent). Gen Z, the youngest generation, logs the lowest percentage with only 68 per cent opting not to store their financial credentials online.

This is not a surprise as several studies cited the region’s young population as a key factor in its emerging drive towards e-payments, in addition to the significant percentage of the region’s still unbanked or underbanked citizens, the high mobile adoption, and the government’s push for greater digital payment adoption.

Southeast Asians on social-networking platforms also prefer not to share their personally identifiable information (69 per cent), information about their immediate family (64 per cent), about their whereabouts (54 per cent), and about their jobs (47 per cent).

When it comes to the people they want to keep these data away from, respondents almost unanimously said it would be worrisome if their data is seen or stolen by cybercriminals (73 per cent) and random strangers online (61 per cent).

“The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated Southeast Asia’s cashless drive at a rapid pace, parallel to the offline-to-online shift of most activities in the region since last year. It is a welcome insight that users here are now thinking thoroughly about the data they share and don’t share online. Most also know now that cybercriminals and the general online public should never get their hands on such information. Awareness, however, does not necessarily equate to action,” said Chris Connell, managing director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.

While most (71 per cent) of the Southeast Asian respondents use passwords to protect their laptop or mobile phones, just five in 10 (54 per cent) check and change the privacy settings of devices, apps, or services they use and only four in 10 (47 per cent) avoid illegal or pirated software and applications.

The same survey, conducted just last November, also showed that only half (53 per cent) of the respondents from the region have installed internet security software on their devices.

“As the fastest-growing region in the Asia Pacific in terms of internet adoption, we see that this is just the beginning of SEA’s digital journey. Understandably, some may still feel afraid and unsure when they use services such as digital payments because it is relatively new, and yes, there are risks present. This is why it’s crucial to put awareness into action,” Connell adds.

Kaspersky experts suggest the following steps to keep financial data and personal information safe online:

Be careful about what you share on social media: Posting too much information on social media can make it easier for cybercriminals to piece together information about you. To maximise your online privacy, it is a good idea to:

• Avoid publicising your movements such as upcoming travel plans.

• Avoid disclosing too much information such as your date of birth or workplace info in the About Us or Bio section of your social-media profile. Avoid posting home address or phone number in any public forum.

• Check to see if the social media platform you are using adds location data to your posts and if it does, turn this setting off.

• Avoid fun quizzes that do the rounds on social media. Often these ask questions such as your favourite pet or where you went to school. These questions are often used as security questions, so making these answers public could make it easier for hackers to break into your online accounts.

• Be wary of giveaways and contests. Many are legitimate but some are scams in disguise. By sharing them on social media, you could be spreading malware or tricking people into giving away sensitive data.

Secure your mobile devices

• Make sure you have a passcode not easily guessed to access your phone and make sure all apps and games are downloaded from legitimate app stores

• Don’t jailbreak or root your phone – that can give hackers a way to overwrite your settings and install their own malicious software.

• Consider downloading an app that can allow you to delete all the data on your phone remotely if your phone is stolen or lost.

• Stay up to date with software and be careful about clicking links online.

• Reliable security solutions, such as Kaspersky Security Cloud and Kaspersky Internet Security, coupled with the use of Kaspersky Password Manager, can help solve the problem of keeping your personal information under control.

Published : May 07, 2021

By : The Nation