Malaysians believe telcos most likely to suffer data breaches
By Digital News Asia August 7, 2015
- They largely support social media monitoring, according to Unisys research
- Need for active measures to protect consumers’ personal data and build trust
MALAYSIANS believe that telecommunications companies are more likely to suffer breaches of consumers’ personal data in the next 12 months compared with other types of organisations, according to new research from Unisys Corp.
The survey also found that the Malaysian public’s comfort with organisations monitoring social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube varies, depending on the intended purpose.
Unisys Security Insights is a global study that looked into the attitudes of consumers on a range of security issues, Unisys said in a statement.
The survey was conducted in April and May 2015, with responses from nearly 11,000 people in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study, conducted in Malaysia by Lieberman Research Group, surveyed 503 adults.
Which organisations consumers trust
The survey asked consumers in 12 countries about the likelihood that their personal data held by seven types of organisations (airlines, banking/ finance, government, healthcare, retail, telecom, and utilities) would be accessed by an unauthorised person, accidently or deliberately, within the next year.
To this, 52% of Malaysians surveyed said they expect a personal information data breach in the next 12 months at a telco.
There is moderate expectation of a data breach by government (with 46% of respondents expecting a breach within a year), healthcare providers (43%) and utilities (41%) such as a power or water supplier.
However, only about one in three Malaysians expect a data breach at a retailer, bank or airline.
“The survey reveals which organisations the Malaysian public perceives to be most vulnerable,” said Unisys Asia Pacific security programme director John Kendall (pic).
“Consumer trust must be earned and maintained. Telecommunications companies need to not only take preventative measures, but also make those measures visible to build and keep public confidence.
“Retailers, banks and airlines are the most trusted type of organisations. However, they will need to work to maintain this trust as they continue to capture more information about their customers in a bid to provide personalised services and offers.
“This is particularly true for airlines as they start to play a greater role assisting with border security measures,” he added.
Overall, Malaysians recorded a lower expectation of breaches of their personal information than most of the 12 countries surveyed, with only the United Kingdom and United States lower.
“While it appears that Malaysians trust organisations to protect their data, those organisations cannot afford to be complacent,” said CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) chief executive officer Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab.
“Personal data is treasure to criminals, so consumers must make sure the organisations they deal with constantly update and improve measures to secure their data against malicious and accidental breaches,” he added.
CSM is the national cybersecurity specialist agency under Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Dr Amirudin (pic) also urged organisations to report any data breaches or other cybersecurity incidents to Cyber999, the help centre CSM manages.
Social media monitoring
The Unisys Security Insights research also found that the majority of Malaysians are comfortable with private or government organisations monitoring publically available information on social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
But their level of comfort varies somewhat depending on the purpose of the monitoring, Unisys said.
Seven in 10 Malaysians surveyed (71%) support monitoring social media to identify public issues or concerns, such as to inform governments about local needs or problems. And 65% are comfortable with such monitoring to help evaluate job candidates for positions of trust such as teachers or carers.
Nearly six in 10 Malaysians also support such monitoring to detect possible terrorist activity.
Kendall said that the same question was asked in Australia and New Zealand, revealing some interesting differences.
“Malaysians recorded higher comfort with social media monitoring overall than Aussies and Kiwis. This reflects a very forward-thinking attitude among Malaysians regarding the potential roles and benefits of social media when analysed by trusted organisations for the benefit of the specific end-user or society as a whole,” he said.
“For example, Malaysians are twice as comfortable with social media monitoring for marketing and advertising purposes than their Aussie and Kiwi neighbours.
“This could be because Malaysians are some of the most avid online shoppers in the world and so are more open to their online identities being analysed for targeted advertising and personalised offers.
“Yet even if Malaysian consumers currently have high trust in organisations to protect their data and are comfortable with their social media being monitored for various purposes, this trust is fragile and Malaysian organisations must be clear about why they collect data and how they will protect it, if they want to retain this trust,” he added.
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