85% of Pinoys wary about security of online activities
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - October 2, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Online dating, shopping and financial transactions emerged as the top three digital activities engaged by Filipinos, and at the same time worry of their safety and security under new normal times.

Latest survey conducted by cybersecurity expert Kaspersky revealed that while these are the most used online services, Pinoys are also worried about their online security when dating virtually, while 85 percent are uneasy about their financial transactions online.

Despite these concerns, 88 percent of Filipino participants believe that their privacy remains safe amid a digital lifestyle.

In the middle of the pandemic, it was revealed in a recent Kaspersky survey that when it comes to online security, Filipinos are now mostly concerned about their online activities such as dating and meeting people (86 percent) as well as their financial transactions (85 percent) and shopping activities (75 percent).

These online activities are what the respondents said they used to do mostly face-to-face long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.

In the same survey, more than half of those asked think that running “trustworthy” apps from Google Play and App Store (67 percent) and antivirus scans (65 percent) are enough ways to keep themselves feel safe online.

About 56 percent of the respondents shared that they are changing passwords on each of their devices for online safety.

One-third of the participants, 42 percent of whom are parents, admitted to purchasing AV software to protect their home devices.

These findings were part of a global survey conducted online by Kaspersky and London-based research agency Sapio Research to find out people perceive our “digital comfort zones” and how the pandemic has impacted these views.

The survey results were gathered in May 2020 from 19 countries including the Philippines, and compiled in a report titled ‘More Connected Than Ever Before: How We Build Our Digital Comfort Zones.’

Being among the most active cybercitizens in the world, Filipinos appeared to have logged more time on the internet now as more work and personal activities were forced to shift online.

Since lockdown was imposed in key cities in the country, 59 percent are actively spending an extra two to more than 20 hours online than before the quarantine situation began, according to the survey.

Despite having a sharp increase in online activities, 88 percent of Filipino participants believe that their digital lifestyle is safe for their privacy. And Kaspersky experts find this alarming.

“Many people think that they are not interesting to a cybercriminal, but we constantly see news about data breaches and widespread phishing campaigns stealing valuable personal data from ‘normal’ people,” said David Jacoby, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky.

He cited as an example the usual strategy of cybercriminals, when planning a big attack on a business, of targeting any person in an organization.

“Cybercriminals use various psychological tricks to make people open phishing emails and click on suspicious links. So it’s crucial that ordinary people follow cybersecurity rules to help protect your valuable data,” said Jacoby.

Kaspersky also warns Internet users against not getting enough online protection particularly those who are performing banking and shopping transactions online.

“Mobility restrictions have pushed Filipinos to do online banking and yes, even retail therapy has surged dramatically during this period. With this scenario that we think is our new normal for the next months or so, we encourage everyone to equip yourselves with even basic cybersecurity knowledge to protect your hard-earned money from cybercriminals. No one is really under the radar,” said Mary Grace Sotayco, Territory Manager for the Philippines at Kaspersky.

According to Kaspersky, online fraud is an easy type of cybercrime as a criminal doesn’t need to be physically fit, be adept with social skills or even programming experience to do it. The cybercriminal only needs to release phishing sites and malware apps to push people to hand their money to them.

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