Kaspersky survey says most Pinoys vulnerable to cyber threats and not too ‘cyber savvy’

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An online survey by global cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab revealed that Filipinos are vulnerable online and still commit cybersecurity mistakes that put them at risk for online threats.

In an online survey to test the “cyber savviness” of 18,000 internet users from over 16 countries including 1,394 from the Philippines, respondents who are over 18 years old answered questions regarding their online habits and cyberthreat awareness.

According to Kaspersky, Filipino respondents scored 97 overall, and two points higher than the global average of 95 that puts them within the at-risk group.
“This means almost half of respondents from the Philippines were not able to identify the cyberthreats they encountered, making them vulnerable to cyberthreats,” the report said.

Based on Kaspersky’s pointers to combat cyberthreats, users or respondents can go from being the safest users to those who are at-risk depending on the survey points they got:
• 137 points are the safest and are very cyber savvy users and “enough to know the rules of safe behavior on the Internet and make the right decisions.”
• Users with 113-137 ratings are secure as they make some dangerous mistakes yet, generally behave safely online.
• 75-113 scorers are averagely at-risk and that they are “able to identify only half the cyberythreats they encounter.”
• Scores below 75 show very threatening online behavior as they couldn’t recognize cyberthreats and “do not consider such issue as important matter.”
The result also showed that one of the harmful habits of nearly half of Filipino internet users or 49.4 percent of them is keeping unused applications open as well as those applications that were left unused for a long time.

“The Philippines ranked the worst in this category among the 16 countries included in the survey. The global average is just 37 percent,” the report explained.
And according to Kaspersky Lab’s security experts, this mistake alone can serve as an “accessible entry for cybercriminals looking for prey.”

“Keeping unused applications on their devices is a common mistake for Filipinos. It is a dire error to leave apps with old software stocked on your devices because these applications have outdated programs which may become a widely open door that cybercriminals can exploit easily. These old apps can be used to turn your beloved devices against you,” Kaspersky Lab Southeast Asia Territory Manager Anthony Chua said.

In another survey result, respondents were asked what they would do if they received an email for example coming from the “tax office” with an attached Word document entitled, “Information about your unpaid fines” in which the cybersecurity firm explained as such frightening or arresting emails which contain “malware masked under common harmless formats like the text format.”

According to Kaspersky, majority of the Filipino or nearly two (16 percent) in every 10 respondents did not fall for this trick of opening an attached file without scanning it with an online security solution or an anti-virus app installed.

“In this category, the Philippines scored the second worst after India with 19 percent. The global average is just 9 percent,” the report said.

In an earlier report however, Kaspersky noted that Filipino internet users were also vulnerable to online phishing attacks with only 11 percent or only 1 out of 10 Pinoy netizens can identify a safe web page.

According to ComputerWorld, Phishing is a “technique used to gain personal information for purposes of identity theft, using fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from legitimate businesses. These authentic-looking messages are designed to fool recipients into divulging personal data such as account numbers and passwords, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers.”

As per the recent report, Kaspersky discovered that 72 percent of Filipino respondents couldn’t distinguish a phishing Facebook page against a legitimate or genuine one, putting the country in a second worst score following Mexico’s 84 percent while the global average is at 58 percent only.

“Filipinos are known as one of the most active social media users. There are currently over 47 million active Facebook accounts* from the Philippines and cybercriminals are very aware of this. While Facebook has its own perks, simple attacks like phishing happen as it essentially plays on an Internet user’s carelessness. If Filipinos continue to be unmindful when using social media platforms, then it shouldn’t be surprising if more cases of scams and identity theft arise,” Chua said. (Corina Oliquino)

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