Dirty, dirty boy: Malaysians lack ‘cyber-hygiene’
By Lum Ka Kay March 18, 2016
- 22% of Malaysians share their passwords with someone else
- US$2.15bil or US$457 per person lost to cybercrime in Malaysia
WHEN it comes to cybersecurity, there is a pretty big gap between what Malaysians actually know, and what they think they know.
According to Symantec Corp’s latest Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, 70% of Malaysians are fairly confident about their knowledge and practice of online security – yet they still make themselves vulnerable online.
When asked to grade their security practices, most Malaysians consistently rate themselves a strong ‘B+,’ said Norton Asia Consumer Business director Chee Choong Hong (pic above).
“However, in reality, most do not pass the most basic requirements of online security: Password use,” he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur on March 15.
Over 40% of Malaysians secure their desktops or laptops with a password, but 74% of them do not install security software on their desktops or laptops.
READ ALSO: Baking in security, the Microsoft way
The Norton report was based on a survey conducted from February 2015 to January 2016, and had slightly over 1,000 respondents 18 years old and above, who owned at least one mobile device.
Password-sharing is common among Malaysians, especially among millennials, according to the report. Of the 22% who shared their passwords with someone else, 26% were millennials, followed by Generation X at 17% and Baby Boomers at a mere 8%.
“Although less tech-savvy, Baby Boomers had more secure online habits than millennials,” said Chee.
READ ALSO: Millennials not as security-savvy as baby boomers: Survey
Email passwords were the most shared at 59%, while 49% shared their social media passwords and 34% their bank account passwords.
This is despite the fact 76% of Malaysians think that it is indeed riskier to share their email passwords than lending their car to a friend for a day.
Malaysians also dread dealing with online security measures, with slightly over 50% of them preferring doing other undesirable tasks like memorising the phone numbers of their immediate family members or having to change the oil in their car, if given a choice.
Malaysians are victims
According to the Norton report, 628 million people globally were the victims of cybercrime in 2015, with 4.7 million of them Malaysians.
Although fairly confident with their online security behaviour, Malaysians still fear some security situations, with 74% saying they would be concerned and devastated if their personal financial accounts were compromised.
Also, 59% think that using public WiFi is riskier than using a public restroom, and 56% believe that they are more likely to have their credit card information stolen while shopping online.
48% of Malaysians believe that identity theft is more likely to happen nowadays, and fully half said it was easier to control personal information before the emergence of smartphones and the mobile Internet.
The impact of cybercrime also includes the time sucked out of one’s life – victims spend about 27 hours to deal with the aftermath.
“That is a lot of time spent in handling the consequences of a cybercrime,” Chee said.
The total loss suffered by Malaysians due to cybercrime is about RM8.9 billion (US$2.15 billion). “This means that on average, cybercrime has cost about RM1,890 (US$457) per person,” he added.
Beyond the time and monetary losses, cybercrime also took an emotional toll, with 41% of Malaysians saying they felt frustrated after becoming victims.
Chee advised people to stay vigilant and avoid giving out unnecessary information online.
“Users should not take their online security for granted. They should pay particular attention to the passwords they use and make them as complex and unique as possible,” he said.
“On social media sites, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it most probably is. Hover your mouse over the link to see its destination before clicking on it.
“Also, be wary when storing or sharing your credit card information on retailer or social networking websites, and always monitor your financial accounts for unusual activity.
“If there’s a charge that you didn’t make, report it immediately,” he added.
Chee said that as more confidential information is shared and stored through mobile devices, it is important for users to install security software on them.
“This can protect consumers’ data as well as protect against device theft,” he added.
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