The COVID-19 pandemic may have stopped domestic and international travels but a huge chunk of human lives continued and shifted from the physical to the virtual world. Six-in-10 internets users from Southeast Asia (SEA) are aware of their increased time online than ever before as showed from the latest research by Kaspersky. This, however, failed to make internet security a priority as 38% admitted that the busy life in lockdown pushes it to the bottom of their to-do list.
The survey, titled “More connected than ever before: how we build our digital comfort zones”, which was conducted among 760 interviewees from SEA last May dug deeper on how users create a safe, internet-connected home during the pandemic-related lockdowns across the region.
“Our fresh study showed that most users in the region are now spending between five to 10 hours online per day, which does not come as a surprise. Southeast Asia has always been a home for countries with young and highly active users of the World Wide Web. The difference during this time is that our online activities are being done inside our houses, from work meetings, shopping, financial transactions, school sessions, social communications, and more. This time shows us how useful a tool technology can be but it should also make us rethink how we secure our home networks against malicious threats online,” comments Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.
the five most common activities respondents in SEA have shifted from the physical to the online world are shopping (64%), content streaming and online gaming (58%), socialising with family and friends (56%), conducting financial matters (47%), and attending online tutorials (39%), according to the latest Kaspersky report.
Doing these activities, while convenient at a time when movements are limited, however, trigger concerns from internet users in the region. Particularly, a huge majority of the respondents (81%) are concerned about conducting dates online instead of physical meet-ups, proving that single people from SEA still prefer to meet potential partners face-to-face.
In terms of having virtual work meetings, another 69% are worried about conducting financial transactions online and 62% feel uneasy. Networking online is also concerning for six-in-10 respondents as well as socialising with friends and family (54%).
When asked for their worries’ extent, 42% of the respondents admitted to being afraid about someone accessing their financial details through their devices. Some (37%) are worried about their private documents being accessible to third parties, while another 35% are concerned about someone taking control of their devices through their insecure internet connection.
Spyware, a software that's installed without your informed consent, whether it be a traditional computer, an application in the web browser, or a mobile application residing on a device, triggers worry for three-in-10 online users from SEA while another 30% are looking out against organisations, websites, or someone who could track their locations.
“The concerns which we’ve unmasked in our research proved that there is a growing awareness towards the cruel aftermath of cyberattacks. However, this same study showed us that there are still 37% of internet users in the region who think they are not at risk because someone else is more interesting for cybercriminals. This thinking has to end now more than ever. It is high time to think really carefully about the defenses we are building around our digital lives and to place its security among our topmost priority,” adds Yeo.
To start building better security for your devices and your home, Kaspersky suggests:
Improve your mindset about cybersecurity. Everyone with data and money can be a target for cybercriminals.
Use strong passwords across all your accounts and devices, including your home router.
Start using “Privacy Checker” that helps consider setting your social media profiles to private. It will make it harder for third parties to find highly personal information
Install endpoint security solutions to keep your devices safe from malware and viruses.
For those who are working from home, we suggest to:
Take key data protection measures to safeguard corporate data and devices, including switching on password protection, encrypting work devices and ensuring data is backed up
Ensure devices, software, applications and services are kept updated with the latest patches
Install proven protection software, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud, on all endpoints, including mobile devices. It also helps ensure that only approved online services are used for work purposes, reducing the risks of shadow IT.