Kaspersky report shows awareness against risks online is there, but action remains an area of improvement

Do you feel afraid every time you input your credit card information or banking details on a shopping site or a payment app? You are not alone, at least according to a survey from the global cybersecurity and digital privacy company Kaspersky.

The report titled “Making Sense of Our Place in the Digital Reputation Economy” discovered some types of personal information are sacred to social media users in Southeast Asia (SEA), which they prefer not to share or store online.

Financial information, such as credit or debit card details, tops the list with the majority (76%) of 861 respondents in the region confirming their intent to keep their money-related data away from the internet.

The sentiment is highest among Baby Boomers (85%), followed by Gen X (81%), and Millennials (75%). Gen Z, the youngest generation, logs the lowest percentage with only 68% opting not to store their financial credentials online.

This is not a surprise as several studies cited SEA’s young population as a key factor in its emerging drive towards e-payments, in addition to the significant percentage of the region’s still unbanked or underbanked citizens, the high mobile adoption, and the government’s push for greater digital payment adoption.

Southeast Asians on social networking platforms also prefer not to share on their account their personally identifiable information or PII (69%), information about their immediate family (64%), about their whereabouts (54%), and about their jobs (47%).

When it comes to the group of people they want to keep these data away from, respondents from SEA almost unanimously revealed that it would be worrisome if these particular data will be seen or stolen by cybercriminals (73%) and random strangers online (61%).

“This health crisis accelerated Southeast Asia’s cashless drive at a rapid pace, parallel to the offline-to-online shift of most activities in the region since last year. It is a welcome insight that users here are now thinking thoroughly about the data they share and don’t share online.

Most also know now that cybercriminals and the general online public should never get their hands on such information.

Awareness, however, does not necessarily equate to action,” comments Chris Connell, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.

While most (71%) of the respondents from SEA use passwords to protect their laptop or mobile phones, just 5 in 10 (54%) check and change the privacy settings of devices, apps, or services they use and only 4 in 10 (47%) avoid illegal or pirated software and applications.

The same survey, conducted just last November 2020, also unmasked that only half (53%) of the respondents from the region have installed internet security software on their devices.