Cybersecurity savviness: Malaysians fare badly in 16-country Kaspersky survey

  • Very slack on confidentiality, can’t be bothered about user agreements
  • But on the ball with online transactions, wary of email attachments
Cybersecurity savviness: Malaysians fare badly in 16-country Kaspersky survey

MALAYSIANS are not very cyber savvy at all when compared with users in 15 other countries, according to a Kaspersky Lab survey.
As part of its Digital Literacy Survey, the company surveyed the cyber savviness of more than 18, 000 users from 16 countries worldwide to find out how they behave on the Internet and how risky their online habits are.
The aim was to learn whether they could make the right decisions about their online security and whether they could recognise a threat when they encountered one. The most dangerous variants of the answers were chosen by users in India, Japan and Malaysia, Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.
The respondents were asked to consider eight potentially dangerous situations, which often occur on the Internet while users are, for example, surfing, downloading files or using social networks.  They were provided with multiple choice answers.
The safer their choices, the higher their score, with a maximum of 150 per user.
Scores over 137 indicate safe online behaviour. For the respondents who score lower than 75, they are categorised in ‘very dangerous online behaviour.’ These users are not able to recognise cyberthreats nor could they protect their data from these threats.
Unconcerned about cybersecurity
Overall, Malaysians were quite unconcerned about cyber-savviness: They use all sorts of devices and applications regardless of their suitability for confidential correspondence, Kaspersky Lab said.
Among the countries surveyed, Malaysians scored the lowest in this area with 23% adopting this false practice.
Only 8% of Australians adopt this practice which position them as the most concerned and the most careful in using devices for communications or messaging applications.
Agreeing to all terms, without reading
Malaysians were guilty of installing programs on a device according to the principle ‘next-next-next-agree’ without carefully reading the accompanying messages.
In other words, they agree to any additional software and changes to OS (operating system) settings that these applications push.
Malaysia scored lowest in this area with 29% of its respondents agreeing to all terms without reading, while Brazilians scored the highest (14%) as they read the terms and conditions carefully before agreeing.
Instant gratification over security
Most disturbing of all is the fact that one-third of respondents from Malaysia are willing to disable an antivirus solution if it blocks the installation of a program, Kaspersky Lab said.
Basically, they give potentially harmful software complete freedom to do whatever it wants on their device in a case of instant gratification over security.
The French scored highest in this area as they opt for keeping their security solution running over a quicker installation option.
Cautious with unfamiliar attachments
Malaysians faired positively when it comes to receiving unfamiliar attachment in the email. Close to 90% of the respondents will check the attachment for viruses before opening it, or delete the message if the attachment is suspicious.
Malaysians are password-savvy!
Malaysians are rather protective when they are creating new accounts on a website – 69% have several passwords that they rotate when creating new accounts as well as creating new passwords that are strong.
When a website requires a more complicated password, 30% of Malaysian respondents will do their best to memorise it to avoid other parties abusing the passwords for malicious activities.
Safe online shoppers
Malaysian respondents adopted protective measures when they make payment when shopping online – 100% will switch the antivirus protection level to ‘high’ to avoid any malicious activities occurring during online transactions.
Similarly, Malaysian respondents reported that they took protective measures when authorising online banking transactions – 64% correctly preferred https URLs for their faster, more secure connection with higher levels of privacy and reliability.
Some tips
To adopt best practices to keep yourself protected online:

  • Only open email attachments that come from a reputable source, and even then only if you're expecting to receive something. NEVER open an attachment sent in an unsolicited (spam) email.
  • Do not use obvious passwords, for example your name or date of birth. Try to avoid using real words that an attacker could find in a dictionary. Instead, use made-up words and include at least one numeric character, at least one non-alphanumeric charcter and a mix of upper and lower case letters.
  • Don’t complete a form in an email message asking for personal information. Only enter such information using a secure website. Check that the URL starts with ‘https://’, rather than just ‘http://’. Look for the lock symbol on the lower right-hand corner of the web browser and double-click it to check the validity of the digital certificate. Or, alternatively, use the telephone to conduct your banking.
  • If you must publish your private address electronically, mask it to avoid having it picked up by spammers. ‘[email protected]’ is easy to guess, as is ‘[email protected].’ Try writing ‘’ instead. If you need to publish your private address on a website, do this as a graphics file rather than as a link.
  • Use anti-hacking technology such as a personal firewall. A personal firewall protects PCs from potentially damaging data sent via the Internet by detecting potential intruders and making the PC invisible to hackers.

Just how cyber savvy are you? Take the test to find out:
Related Stories:
Dirty, dirty boy: Malaysians lack ‘cyber-hygiene’
Social media users ripe targets for cybercriminals
Asia’s top Internet scams, and how to stay safe

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