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Almost half of Singaporeans suffered at least 1 cybersecurity lapse in past year: CSA survey

The survey also finds that 45 per cent of respondents did not install security software in their mobile phones.

Almost half of Singaporeans suffered at least 1 cybersecurity lapse in past year: CSA survey

People using their mobile phones. (File photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans' cyber hygiene still has some room for improvement if the latest findings from the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) are anything to go by.

In the Cybersecurity Public Awareness Survey 2018 released on Wednesday (Sep 11), almost half, or 48 per cent, of respondents had experienced at least one cyber incident in the past 12 months.

Cyber incidents can include being hacked, having one's data stolen or receiving a lot of pop-up advertisements. Persistent pop-ups are a common sign of malware infection, CSA said in its media release.

More than a third (36 per cent) of respondents reported receiving multiple advertisement pop-ups after visiting some webpages while 15 per cent said they were a customer of an organisation that had its data stolen - the top two cyber incidents reported in the survey.

READ: The Big Read - As more cyberattacks loom, Singapore has a weak ‘first line of defence’

For those who were victims, 66 per cent indicated they changed their passwords while 44 per cent said they reported to the organisation in question. 

Thirty-six per cent said they installed antivirus software as protection while 31 per cent reported the incident to the police, the survey found. One in 10 said they didn’t do anything, it added.

And while many respondents were concerned about cybersecurity incidents, a proportion did not think they would fall victim.

For instance, 84 per cent said they were concerned about their computer being controlled by hackers illegally, but only 36 per cent felt this is likely to happen to them. 

Similarly, 84 per cent were concerned over their financial information being obtained by others without consent, but just 39 per cent felt they were likely victims.

The online survey polled 1,105 respondents aged 15 and above between Dec 14 and Dec 24 last year. This is the third survey since CSA started tracking Singaporeans’ cyber hygiene in 2016.


The survey also found that the proportion of respondents who use their personal mobile devices for online transactions have trended up since 2016, from 51 per cent then and 64 per cent in 2017 to 73 per cent last year.

Yet the proportion of those who installed security applications in their mobile devices fell from 53 per cent in 2017 to 45 per cent in 2018, it added.

This is despite 84 per cent of them indicating they understood the risks of not having these security apps, and 64 per cent saying they knew the functions of these apps, the survey said.

A sense of complacency appears to have seeped into people’s behaviour too, as 80 per cent indicated they updated their mobile devices’ software last year – a slight dip from 83 per cent the year before, it said.

It also showed that only 50 per cent of respondents updated the software immediately when available, down from 55 per cent in 2017.

READ: Digital Defence pillar added to Singapore's Total Defence framework to strengthen cybersecurity

“The survey shows that while Singaporeans are concerned about cyberthreats and agree that they have a role to play, most believe that they are not the target of cybercriminals,” CSA chief executive David Koh said.

He added: “Cyberthreats are part and parcel of the digital age, and cyberattacks will only increase. No one is immune. We need to improve our cyber hygiene so that we do not lose our hard-earned money and our precious data to cybercriminals.”

With the findings, CSA said it will be launching this year’s Go Safe Online campaign later this month focussing on raising awareness of the personal consequences of cyberattacks and the measures people should take to protect themselves.

Source: CNA/kk(hm)


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