esetESET, a global leader in cybersecurity, released the results from its APAC Consumer Cybersecurity Survey, which has been conducted earlier this year with 11,200 respondents from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

According to ESET’s findings, three in five (62%) respondents in APAC said they have experienced a cyberattack or online threat in the past 12 months. By analyzing consumers' habits based on previous online interactions, the survey provided a deeper insight on the awareness of basic cybersecurity threats and best practices of actions online.

While the pandemic has introduced a new paradigm in the way we live, work, learn, socialize and play, it has also resulted in consumers' increased reliance on digital technologies and services, which is a major factor for cybercriminals to pursue illegal activities.

Parvinder Walia, President of Asia Pacific and Japan, ESET, said: "As we continue to navigate challenges from the pandemic, the reliance on digital technology for various aspects of our daily lives will likely spill into the future. Our survey findings suggest that it is now common for Internet users to encounter online threats. Therefore, it is critical that consumers are educated about the growing risks and are aware of the steps they can take to protect themselves as well as their children when conducting online activities."

Of the seven APAC markets surveyed, India (81%), Thailand (65%), and Taiwan (63%) had the highest number of respondents who have experienced a cyberattack or online threat. Across the surveyed markets, the most common forms were attributed to malware/virus attacks (17%), theft of personal data (13%), and social media breach or duplication (11%). Only about 23% respondents installed free or paid antivirus/security app on their mobile devices.

Consumers' vigilance is critical as online shopping scams are rife

As people are increasingly dependent on the Internet to work, communicate, shop and entertain themselves, scammers are also taking advantage of the new normal to lure victims. Around two thirds (67%) of surveyed respondents indicated that they have come across online scams.

The most common types of scams were online shopping (21%), social media (18%), and investment (15%). With close to half of surveyed respondents saying that they shop online at least once a month, it is critical for consumers to remain vigilant when engaging in online transactions.

Besides, more than half of the respondents in APAC trust the security measures by online retailers completely: 45% of respondents from Thailand and 23% from India respectively also indicated that they would continue shopping at an online retailer even after a data breach, regardless of the security status thereafter.

To protect themselves from scams, consumers should take precautions when shopping online. Fortunately, more than 90% of surveyed respondents take some form of precaution when doing so, with checking for product/seller reviews being the most popular method of assessing a retailer's legitimacy across APAC.

Children are vulnerable and need guidance in an increasingly digital world

With the pandemic resulting in a hybrid model of learning, children's risk exposure via devices and through various online platforms offering services is growing - ranging from collaboration, online learning and video streaming to online games and social media. In other words, this puts children at greater risk of encountering online threats and makes it the more important to teach them the essential skills to remain safe.

The survey revealed, for instance, that 95% of respondents who are parents from Indonesia have never spoken to their children about cybersecurity, and this remains significantly high in the region – over three out of four (77%) respondents across APAC have never spoken to their children about the issue. To ensure that minors are protected in the digital world, parents should have a hand in demonstrating the threats that the online world poses: e.g., 32% of parents from Thailand and 25% from Hong Kong also said that their children have been exposed to inappropriate content online.

Most parents (90%) in APAC did take actions to ensure their children's online safety. Popular methods include limiting the amount of time their children spend online (31%), using parental control applications (29%) and checking what apps are installed on their children's devices (24%).

For more than 30 years now, ESET develops industry-leading IT security software and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure and consumers worldwide from increasingly sophisticated digital threats. From endpoint and mobile security to endpoint detection and response, as well as encryption and multifactor authentication, ESET's high-performing, easy-to-use solutions unobtrusively protect and monitor 24/7, updating defenses in real time to keep users safe and businesses running without interruption.

By MediaBUZZ