ESET Report: Huge gap in cyber security knowledge leaves Asia vulnerable

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  • Malaysia takes the lead as the most cyber-savvy nation while Indonesia is on the bottom rung in this regard
  • 3 in 5 consumers in Asia unable to answer basic cyber security questions
  • Over 38 percent of users across the region engage in risky behaviour online, despite knowing the dangers
  • 4 in 10 users gain information about cyber security through unofficial sources

Singapore, 24 August 2015 – ESET®, a global pioneer in proactive protection for more than two decades, today released the ESET Asia Cyber Savviness Report 2015 which shows that 93 percent of online users in Asia worry about cyber security. The survey also underlines that the region still has a long way to go in understanding online security and protecting themselves. In fact, 3 out of 5 consumers are unable to answer basic cyber security questions correctly.Polling 1,800 respondents from across Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, the survey aimed to gain insights into the attitudes, knowledge and user behaviours across Asia when it comes to cyber security.Despite the fact that Asia-Pacific region has the highest number of internet users in the world, the results of the study show that users in this region don’t know how to stay safe online. Moreover, a large  share of those  polled  commit basic mistakes like using passwords containing easy to access personal information, such as their date of birth or surname, storing passwords and credit card details online, and connecting to unsecured public wi-fi networks.ESET’s study ranked Malaysia as the most ‘cyber-savvy‘ nation in Asia-Pacific, ahead of Singapore, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Indonesia in that order. Cyber-savviness is based on factors such as the ability to understand activities likely to make them vulnerable online, risky behaviours while surfing the web, and the steps users take to protect themselves online.Surprisingly, the results showed that consumers in countries with higher cyber savviness didn’t necessarily take all the right precautions, nor were they fully aware of the cyber security risks that common online activities pose. For example, users in India and Indonesia, take the highest number of precautions despite having the lowest levels of cyber security awareness. On the other hand, countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, which ranked amongst the top in ESET’s awareness survey came in near the bottom when it came to protecting themselves.

“We need to bust some myths about online security,“ said Parvinder Walia, Sales Director APAC at ESET. “The ESET Asia Cyber Savviness Report 2015 found that users in Asia-Pacific tend to take unnecessary risks when they’re online, partly due to a lack of awareness. Users have the dangerous misconception that their personal accounts and activities are not likely to be a target for hackers or might be trading security for convenience. This has to change”.“Information today is available at the touch of a button and the Internet is simplifying our day-to-day lives. Being aware and taking simple precautions will mean that users can stay protected online and feel confident as they take advantage of all that the Internet has to offer,“ added Walia.

More education needed to boost cyber security awarenessThe study quizzed respondents about common safety risks online in order to find out how much they actually know about cyber security. Across the region, while 68 percent of online users said that they are aware of online security issues, they were unable to answer questions regarding cyber security practices.In the Asia-Pacific region, the lack of formal education is a huge issue as 4 in 10 online users said they gained most of their information about online security through unofficial sources such as doing their own online research or from their families and acquaintances.On an encouraging note, over 78 percent of the surveyed respondents that didn’t have any formal training about cyber security, said they were keen to learn more.Widespread misconceptions mean that new threats could go uncheckedThe online world is evolving quickly. However, results of the ESET Asia Cyber Savviness Report 2015 showed that online users might not be aware of new online threats. For example, nearly half of the respondents in the region felt their PCs and laptops were more likely to be hacked than their smartphones and tablets. Security risks associated with social media, free applications and software downloads are also not taken seriously, with over 30 percent of respondents saying that they were least concerned about exposure to cyber threats via these channels.  

Walia cautions “Hackers are like predators in a jungle – they look for easy targets and the path of least resistance. The survey results show that while consumers are adopting technology quickly, they are unwittingly putting themselves at risk by not appreciating the need to secure their new devices, which can be done very easily. Similarly, activities on social media and apps can also pose some threats, but these can be protected against by knowing the fundamentals of cyber security.“

The full ESET Asia Cyber Savviness Report 2015 can be downloaded here: ESET Asia Cybersavviness Report

About ESETESET®, the pioneer of proactive protection and the maker of the award-winning ESET NOD32® technology, is a global provider of security solutions for businesses and consumers. For over 26 years, the Company continues to lead the industry in proactive threat detection. By obtaining the 80th VB100 award in June 2013, ESET NOD32 technology holds the record number of Virus Bulletin "VB100” Awards, and has never missed a single “In-the-Wild” worm or virus since the inception of testing in 1998. In addition, ESET NOD32 technology holds the longest consecutive string of the VB100 awards of any AV vendor. ESET has also received a number of accolades from AV-Comparatives, AV-TEST and other testing organisations and reviews. ESET NOD32® Antivirus, ESET Smart Security®, ESET Cyber Security® (solution for Mac), ESET® Mobile Security and IT Security for Business are trusted by millions of global users and are among the most recommended security solutions in the world.ESET recently updated its two-factor authentication (2FA) application, adding a secure validation to weak and static user passwords.This updated version of ESET’s 2FA application provides flexibility and deeper integration of 2FA into bespoke applications, making it the best cost-effective solutions for SMBs everywhere.The Company has global headquarters in Bratislava (Slovakia), with regional distribution centers in San Diego (U.S.), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Singapore; with offices in Jena (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). ESET has malware research centers in Bratislava, San Diego, Buenos Aires, Singapore, Prague, Košice (Slovakia), Krakow (Poland), Montreal (Canada), Moscow (Russia) and an extensive partner network for more than 180 countries. More information is available from the ESET Press Center