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Singaporeans overconfident, but underprepared in their security practices

Zafirah Salim | Nov. 25, 2015
According to Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, only 11 percent of Singapore respondents said they feel completely in control over their online security; with another 81 percent feeling unconfident of dealing with online crime should they fall victim to it.

Over the past year, Singaporeans have lost an average of 20 hours and a total of S$5.49 billion dealing with the fallout of online crime. This comes as no surprise as to why 80 percent of respondents - both locally and globally - worry that they will be potential victims of online crime.

These are according to the findings of a recently-released Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, which polled over 17,000 adult mobile device users across 17 countries, including Singapore. The report examines consumers' online behaviors, attitudes and security habits alongside the dangers and financial cost of cybercrime.

On top of this loss, cybercrime also takes an emotional toll with 61 percent of consumer cyber crime victims in Singapore feeling frustrated after falling victim. Furthermore, more than 82 percent of respondents said they would be devastated if their personal financial information was compromised. In fact, 71 percent of Singapore respondents believe that they are more likely to have their credit card details stolen while shopping online than in the real world.

Singaporeans overconfident, but underprepared

Surprisingly, Baby Boomers - a group often seen as less tech-savvy - are reported to be more security-conscious than the Millennials. Despite half of the Millennials (52 percent) in Singapore experiencing online crime, 37 percent of them insisted that they are unlikely to be victims, citing that they are "not interesting enough".

Consumers are also noted to be overconfident in their online security behaviours. When asked to grade their security practices, they consistently award themselves a solid 'A'; but in reality, most are not passing the most basic requirement of online security: password use.

Although they are born in the digital era, the Millennials often throw caution to the wind with 33 percent admitting to sharing passwords and other risky online behaviour. In Singapore, among those using passwords, only three in 10 (29 percent) respondents always use a secure password. This refers to a combination of at least eight letters, numbers and symbols. Worryingly, nearly one in four do not have a password installed on their device.

Additionally, people are sharing passwords to online sensitive accounts with their friends and family. Of those sharing passwords, 23 percent share the password to their banking account; and on average, they are sharing passwords for two accounts, with the most common passwords shared being email (59 percent) and social media (44 percent).

It is also ironic to note that although 80 percent of them believe that it is dangerous to share their email password with a friend, half of those sharing passwords still adopt this risky behaviour.

"Consumer confidence was rocked in 2014 by an unprecedented number of mega breaches that exposed the identities of millions of people who were simply making routine purchases from well-known retailers," said Gavin Lowth, Vice President, Norton Consumer and Small Business, Asia Pacific and Japan.


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