One in three Malaysian internet users lost out to cybercrime last year, notes Norton study


Chee Choon Hong, Director, Asia Consumer Business, Norton by Symantec 

Photo - Chee Choon Hong, Director, Asia Consumer Business, Norton by Symantec.


According to cybersecurity solutions provider Norton by Symantec's latest study, one in three Malaysian internet users have personally experienced cybercrime in the past year.

During the recent release of Norton's Cybersecurity Insights Report in Kuala Lumpur, the company's director, Asia Consumer Business, Chee Choon Hong, said the study found that in Malaysia, 56 percent of consumers in Malaysia believed it was "more likely to have their credit card information stolen after shopping online rather than out of their wallets."

"More than six in 10 (59 percent) of Malaysians believe using public Wi-Fi is riskier than using a public restroom," said Chee. "In addition, 33 percent reported they have personally experienced cybercrime in the past year."

"Cyber attackers are not slowing down," he said. "They are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to steal consumers' personal information such as passwords, contact information and banking credentials to fill their coffers."

"As consumers in Malaysia adapt to the fast-evolving digital world, we encourage them to take proactive measures to safeguard their information online and not become complacent about security," added Chee.

He said the report found that "Baby Boomers - a group often considered less tech savvy - report more secure online habits than Millennials, with only 8 percent admitting to sharing passwords. Born in the digital era, Millennials, often throw caution to the wind with 26 percent admitting to sharing passwords and other risky online behaviour".

Online frustrations, losses

Chee said Malaysia consumers lost an average of 27 hours over the past year dealing with the fallout of online crime and nearly RM1,890 (US$463) per person - totalling about RM8.9 (US$2.18) billion.

"On top of this loss, cybercrime takes a true emotional toll with 4 in 10 (41 percent) of consumer cybercrime victims in Malaysia feeling frustrated after becoming a victim," he said.

Other Malaysian findings include:
- About seven in 10 (74 percent) of respondents said they'd feel devastated if their personal financial information was compromised
 - More than six in 10 (65 percent) respondents believe dealing with the consequences of a stolen identity is more stressful than preparing for a presentation at work (37 percent)
- More than six out of 10 (65 percent) respondents are more stressed when they realise that they have downloaded a virus than sitting next to a screaming baby on a plane (48 percent)

However, despite this concern and awareness of cybercrime, consumers are fairly confident in their online security behaviours, Chee said. When asked to grade their security practices, they consistently mark themselves a strong "B+". But in reality, most are not passing the most basic requirement of online security: password use.

 In Malaysia:
- 76 percent believe it is riskier to share their email password with a friend than lend them their car (24 percent), yet sharing of password is still common.
- Of those using passwords, nearly two in five (38 percent) respondents always use a secure password - a combination of at least eight letters, numbers and symbols. People are sharing passwords to online sensitive accounts with friends and family. Of those sharing passwords, one in three (34 percent) share the password to their banking account.

Chee said that Norton's advice for online safety included;
- Choose a unique, smart, secure password for each account you have online.
- Delete emails from senders you don't know, and don't click on attachments or links on suspicious-looking emails.
- On social media sites if an offer sounds too good to be true, it just might be. Beware of the pitfalls of clicking on links from social media sites. Before clicking, hover the mouse over the link to see its destination. Only click on links that lead to reputable, official company pages.
- Always monitor your financial accounts for unusual activity. If there is a charge that you didn't make, report it immediately. Often cybercriminals will charge a small "test" amount before attempting to drain your bank account.
-Don't put off installing security software such as Norton Security and updating it regularly.
- Use a secure backup solution to protect files and backup regularly so criminals can't hold them for ransom.

The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report is an online survey of 21,302 mobile device users ages 18+ across 21 markets, commissioned by Norton by Symantec and produced by research firm Edelman Berland and Morar Consulting. The margin of error for the total sample is +/-0.75%. The Malaysia sample reflects input from 1,000 Malaysia mobile device users ages 18+. The margin of error is +/- 3.0% for the total Malaysia sample. Data from Malaysia was collected Feb 2016 by Morar Consulting.