ASEAN Consumers More Aware of Cyberthreats, Social Engineering Scam Top Challenge

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More consumers in Southeast Asia are encountering cybersecurity threats, and the awareness level to these risks has also surged. According to a recent report from Kaspersky, consumers are aware that they have been targeted by social engineering scams, which appear to be the top threat faced by Southeast Asian countries.

Defined by Kaspersky as "a manipulation technique that exploits human error to gain private information, access, or valuables," social engineering scams were the most frequently encountered type of threat for respondents in Indonesia (40%), Malaysia (45%), the Philippines (42%), Singapore (32%), and Vietnam (38%).

37% of respondents said they encountered social engineering scams via texts or calls, while other frequent threats included fake websites (27%), fake offers and deals (27%), and phishing scams (25%).

Kaspersky points to the rise in digital payments and e-commerce as factors behind Southeast Asia becoming a "prime target" for cybercriminals. There is a constant stream of online transactions. However, Kaspersky said that emerging technologies have no inherent good or bad quality - it is how we interact with them that determines whether they are used for positive gains.

For businesses, Kaspersky recommends implementing a comprehensive security solution that can protect against a wide range of threats and educating employees on how to spot and avoid social engineering scams. 

Consumers, in particular, are looking for businesses that can offer fraud protection, such as one-time-passwords (OTPs) via SMS for every transaction (61%), biometric security features and two-factor authentication (52%), automated detection and intervention for fraudulent transactions (42%), tokenization — protection of sensitive data by the random generation of a code (28%), and point-to-point encryption (25%).

With increased awareness among consumers, Kaspersky believes that more businesses will start to adopt these security measures, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to take advantage of people in Southeast Asia. There is still room for awareness to grow, such as when it comes to understanding how malware can compromise financial transactions — something that most users have yet to experience, the study highlights.

Image credit: iStockphoto/ipopba