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More than a quarter of Singapore residents suffered at least 1 cybersecurity lapse in past year: CSA survey

More than a quarter of Singapore residents suffered at least 1 cybersecurity lapse in past year: CSA survey

More than a quarter of Singaporeans suffered at least 1 cybersecurity lapse in 2019. (Photo: AFP/Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV)

SINGAPORE: The cyber hygiene of Singapore residents still has some room for improvement, says the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA).

In the Cybersecurity Public Awareness Survey 2019 released on Friday (Aug 21), about a quarter, or 28 per cent of respondents, had experienced at least one cyber incident in the past 12 months.

Fourteen per cent of these were unauthorised attempts to access online accounts and 10 per cent of these were the usage of online accounts to contact others without consent - the two most encountered type of cyber incidents.

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For those who were victims, 68 per cent indicated they changed their passwords while 46 per cent said they reported the incident to the relevant organisation. Thirty per cent said they installed antivirus software as protection, while eight per cent said they did not take any action.

While many respondents were concerned about cybersecurity incidents, a proportion did not think they would fall victim to an online scam or fraud.

For instance, 82 per cent said they were concerned about their computer being controlled by hackers illegally, but only 32 per cent felt this is likely to happen to them. 

Similarly, 82 per cent were concerned over their financial information being obtained by others without consent, but just 35 per cent felt they were likely victims.

The online survey polled 1,000 respondents aged 15 and above between Dec 17 and Dec 23 last year. This is the such fourth survey since 2016.

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Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran cautioned Singaporeans in a Facebook post on Friday to not let their guard down. 

"Be vigilant and practise good cyber hygiene at all times. That way, we can stay safe even as we increasingly go digital in our daily lives!" he said.


As phishing remained a popular way for cyber attackers to target victims, the 2019 survey attempted to study respondents' understanding of phishing in a new section.

Although two-thirds of respondents (66 per cent) knew what phishing was, only four per cent could identify all the phishing emails correctly.

The majority of the respondents (86 per cent) were able to identify phishing emails promising attractive rewards, but only 57 per cent were able to identify emails with suspicious attachments.

Emails using urgent or threatening language were only identified by 55 per cent of the respondents, and emails requesting for confidential information by 53 per cent of the respondents.


The survey also found that the proportion of respondents who use their personal mobile devices for online transactions have trended up, from 73 per cent in 2018 to 80 per cent last year.

The proportion of those who installed security applications in their mobile devices saw only a slight increase from 45 per cent in 2018 to 47 per cent in 2019, it added.

This is despite 85 per cent of them indicating they understood the risks of not having these security apps, and 64 per cent saying they knew how to use them.

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“With our increasing reliance on technology, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunistic cyber criminals now have a bigger hunting ground,” CSA chief executive David Koh said.

“It is important for us to shake off the ‘it will not happen to me’ mindset, stay vigilant, and take steps to protect ourselves online so that we do not become the next victim.”

In the midst the COVID-19 pandemic, CSA said it will be focusing on virtual, print and broadcast platforms to raise cybersecurity awareness and promote the adoption of cybersecurity measures.

These include television programmes in vernacular languages and dialects, as well as virtual talks and videos targeted at the various audiences. 

CSA will also launch a Safer Cyberspace Masterplan later this year, which lays out a blueprint to better protect Singaporeans and enterprises in the digital domain.

Source: CNA/ic


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