Aware of risks, Malaysians persist with bad online habits: Survey

  • Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI) surveyed 10,000 PC, smartphone and tablet users across 20 countries
  • 84% of Malaysians face multiple online risks, yet only 23% take proactive steps to help protect themselves and their data

Aware of risks, Malaysians persist with bad online habits: SurveyIN conjunction with international Safer Internet Day, Microsoft Corp released the results of its second annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), a survey sponsored by the company that measures how much computer and device users are doing to protect themselves online.
The report revealed that while 84% of Malaysians face multiple online risks, only 23% say they take proactive steps to help protect themselves and their data.
This year the MCSI also examined mobile safety behaviors, uncovering that only 33% run regular updates on their mobile devices, potentially compounding their risk, Microsoft said in a statement.
“Consumers today are transitioning into a more mobile and seamless lifestyle – gone are the days when a single PC was all that was needed to get your work done,” said Dr Dzahar Mansor (pic), national technology officer at Microsoft Malaysia.
“Today, a single consumer can have multiple devices with different form factors and operating systems; from a laptop and a tablet, to one or even two mobile phones.
“The amount of information that gets transferred from one device to another is taken for granted, and therein lies the problem – Malaysians as a whole are pretty aware of online risks, but only a fraction take preventive measures to protect themselves, as highlighted by the recent MCSI,” he added.
Theft of passwords or account information was cited as a concern by Malaysians, with 46% saying they use secure websites and 39% saying they avoid using open Wi-Fi hotspots on their mobile devices.
“Personal information is a valuable commodity to criminals and, just like your home computer, your mobile device is equally attractive to hackers,” said Dr Dzahar.
“You can help protect your data by ensuring updates are consistently installed, locking your mobile device with a password or PIN (personal identification number), and being cautious when using open wireless networks,” he said.
Aware of risks, Malaysians persist with bad online habits: SurveyOther key findings from the MCSI include the following (click infographic to download 1MB file):

  • 55% of Malaysians educate themselves on preventing identity theft, while 51% of Malaysians worry about theft of password or account information;
  • 33% of Malaysians said they worry about computer viruses and leave on their firewalls; and
  • Only 25% of Malaysians said they worry about having their identity stolen.

200% increase in reported incidents
At a recent event with Microsoft, CyberSecurity Malaysia vice president of Industry Development Razman Azrai Zainuddin revealed that the total number incidents reported to its Cyber999 hotline was 9,155 cases from January to November 2012, amounting to a cumulative average growth rate (CAGR) of more than 200% over the past three years.
The bulk of these reported incidents was intrusion (at 3,924) and fraud (at 3,676).
Microsoft offers a range of online safety tools and resources at, including the following practical steps consumers can take to stay safer online:

  • Lock your computer and accounts with strong passwords and your mobile phone with a unique, four-digit PIN.
  • Do not pay bills, bank, shop or conduct other sensitive business on a public computer, or on your laptop or mobile phone over “borrowed” or public Wi-Fi (such as a hotspot).
  • Watch for snoops. People scouting for passwords, PINs, user names or other such data may be watching your fingers or the screen as you enter that data.
  • Treat suspicious messages cautiously. Avoid offers too good to be true and be wary of their senders, even if the messages appear to come from a trusted source.
  • Look for signs that a Web page is secure and legitimate. Before you enter sensitive data, check for evidence of encryption (e.g., a Web address with “https” and a closed padlock beside it or in the lower right corner of the window).
  • Reduce spam in your inbox. Share your primary email address and instant messaging name only with people you know or with reputable organizations. Avoid listing them on your social network page, in Internet directories (such as white pages) or on job-posting sites.

The MCSI surveyed more than 10,000 PC, smartphone and tablet users across the most popular platforms in 20 countries and regions about their personal approach to online safety and assigned a point scale of 0 to 100 based on their answers. The global average score was 34 for PC online safety and 40 for mobile.
An abbreviated version of the MCSI is available at Microsoft Computing Safety Index Survey for people to check how savvy they are when it comes to online safety.
Countries surveyed in the MCSI were Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Related Story:
Scammers in Malaysia up their game with social engineering

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