Do Not Share Your Private Information Online!

Throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO), we have heard many stories of people being scammed or cheated when they fall victim to cybercriminals’ fraudulent activities. While desperate times do call for desperate measures, let’s be smart when we’re online!

A recent survey conducted by global cybersecurity company, Kaspersky, has revealed that 40% of consumers from the Asia Pacific (APAC) have faced incidents where their private information was accessed by someone who did not have their consent.

do not share your private information online!Photo: master1305

The survey that was conducted on a total of 15,002 consumers across 23 countries, majority from the APAC region, found that some of the breaches involve accounts being accessed without permission (40%), illegal takeover of devices (39%), confidential data being stolen and used (31%), private data being accessed by someone without consent, and private information being divulged publicly (20%).

However, what’s more alarming is that more than one-fifth of the users are still willing to sacrifice their privacy to gain a product or a service for free!

Another 24% of the respondents would also blindly share their social media account details to participate in funny quizzes to find out what their celebrity look is or what kind of flower they are, while every 2-in-10 consumers surveyed also admitted they need some help to learn how to protect their privacy online.

When asked in the survey on some of the consequences individuals have encountered after a privacy breach, online users cited negative aftermath as most (39%) were disturbed by spam and adverts, some (33%) were stressed, and a portion (24%) claimed their personal reputation was damaged.

Some (19%) of users offended someone, lost money, and were bullied while blackmail was also experienced by 16% of the users in APAC. Familial relationships were dented (15%), some careers were damaged (14%) and romantic bonds ended or underwent a divorce (10%).

“Cybercriminals tend to follow chaos. Whenever there is a major trend or a crisis, they will use it as a perfect opportunity to exploit the heightened human emotions which make users more vulnerable. To protect yourself during this critical time, it is important to be careful about the personal particulars you share online and to understand how these data will be used,” said Stephan Neumeier, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.

That said, to ensure that your personal information remains protected on the internet, Kaspersky advises consumers to:

  1. Keep a list of your online accounts so you have a full understanding of which services and websites may be storing your personal information
  2. Start using “Privacy Checker” that helps consider setting your social media profiles to private. It will make it harder for third parties to find highly personal information
  3. Identify potentially dangerous or questionable requests made by an app, and understand the risks associated with different types of common permissions.
  4. For businesses, teach employees about the basics of cybersecurity. For example, not opening or storing files from unknown emails or websites as they could be harmful to the whole company, or to not use any personal details in their passwords
  5. Regularly remind staff on how to deal with sensitive data, for example, to only store it in trusted cloud services that need to be authenticated for access and that it should not be shared with untrusted third parties

Let’s all be mindful of our online activities to avoid falling victim to cyberattacks!

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya