21 November 2018

Four in 10 Singaporeans have suffered a data breach in the past 12 months

Walia introduces findings from the survey. Seven in 10 (72%) of consumers respond negatively when they hear that a company has experienced a cyberattack or a breach.
Walia introduces findings from the survey. Seven in 10 (72%) of consumers respond negatively when they hear that a company has experienced a cyberattack or a breach.

ESET, developer of award-winning cybersecurity software, recently commissioned a survey* to understand consumer behaviours online and their attitudes towards cybersecurity in light of the recent cases of data compromises.

The ESET 2018 APAC Consumer Behaviour Survey revealed that four out of 10 (42%) Singaporeans have experienced a data breach in the past 12 months. These breaches range from personal data being stolen and used, fraudulent charges on bank accounts, social media breaches, malware breaches and the most prominent, virus attacks. 

Virus attacks are the most common (19%), then malware attacks (15%), followed by experiencing the consequences of personal data that has been stolen (15%).

Singaporeans increasingly own more connected devices and spend more time on the Internet as a result. On average, 62% of Singaporeans are spending more than three hours a day on the Internet.  On average, Singaporeans have at least two connected devices with smart TVs being the most prevalent in Singaporean homes**. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they own a smart TV, among other devices such as wearables, lights, fridges and more.

The survey further revealed gaps in understanding of basic cybersecurity protocols. A quarter of Singapore respondents said they are confident about their knowledge of cyberthreats. However, many respondents were not familiar with ransomware, phishing or Trojan horses. On a brighter note, seven in 10 (71%) of Singapore respondents are willing to receive information about cybersecurity.

Only 22% of respondents would check if a website is secure before making a transaction. The highest proportion of respondents (40%) state they would trust a familiar website despite familiar sites being a prime target for phishing. The lack of need to check could be due to the perception that such websites are safe as the respondents believe that the highest source of cyberattacks originate from social media (17%) and Internet downloads (17%). 

Respondents also felt that mobile apps were relatively safe, when they are still a source of vulnerability. Only 7% of respondents thought mobile apps could be unsafe.

Source: ESET infographic. Cybersecurity status for Singapore consumers.
Source: ESET infographic. Cybersecurity status for Singapore consumers.

Password hygiene continues to be a key challenge as close to half (44%) of the respondents admitted that they use similar passwords over different platforms. Similar passwords across different platforms pose greater threats when the platforms they protect contain important information such as personal data and credit card information. 

Four in 10 (42%) of Singaporeans subscribe to cybersecurity solutions, and respondents prioritised firewalls, anti-malware and anti-spyware as features they want in such solutions That said, they are open to obtaining more features that would protect them.

“The survey shows that while Singaporeans have a general understanding of cybersecurity, more needs to be done given the evolving threat landscape. Consumers need to understand that basic cybersecurity hygiene is important and take proactive measures to educate themselves, especially given how much time we spent online, and how (often) digital transactions are taking place today,” said Parvinder Walia, Sales and Marketing Director for Asia Pacific and Japan, ESET.

*The survey polled 1000 respondents in Singapore, of which 43% were male and 57% were female. The bulk of respondents were aged between 35-44 years (27%), followed by range of 18-24 (20%) years. The ESET Consumer Behaviour Survey was conducted in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The objective of the survey was to get a better understanding on the behaviour of consumers online, as well as the threats they are vulnerable to. In particular, it sought to uncover what their thoughts were on data protection measures such as password strength and anti-virus solutions, in light of the growing trend of owning and using constantly connected devices.

**Excluding computers, laptops and mobile devices.