How to Keep Your Financial Data and Personal Information Safe Online

A recent Kaspersky report titled “Making Sense of Our Place in the Digital Reputation Economy” discovered some types of personal information are sacred to social media users in Southeast Asia (SEA), which they prefer not to share or store online.

The report studies attitudes of individuals in Asia Pacific towards building a secure and reputable online identity on social media. It also looks into how tainted digital reputation of businesses are perceived.

Financial information, such as credit or debit card details, tops the list with the majority (76%) of 861 respondents in the region confirming their intent to keep their money-related data away from the internet.

The sentiment is highest among Baby Boomers (85%), followed by Gen X (81%), and Millennials (75%). Gen Z, the youngest generation, logs the lowest percentage with only 68% opting not to store their financial credentials online.

“This is not a surprise as several studies cited SEA’s young population as a key factor in its emerging drive towards e-payments, in addition to the significant percentage of the region’s still unbanked or underbanked citizens, the high mobile adoption, and the government’s push for greater digital payment adoption,” said Kaspersky.

Southeast Asians on social networking platforms also prefer not to share on their account their personally identifiable information or PII (69%), information about their immediate family (64%), about their whereabouts (54%), and about their jobs (47%).

When it comes to the group of people they want to keep these data away from, respondents from SEA almost unanimously revealed that it would be worrisome if these particular data will be seen or stolen by cybercriminals (73%) and random strangers online (61%).

While most (71%) of the respondents from SEA use passwords to protect their laptop or mobile phones, just 5 in 10 (54%) check and change the privacy settings of devices, apps, or services they use and only 4 in 10 (47%) avoid illegal or pirated software and applications.

The same survey, conducted just last November 2020 on respondents ranged from 18-65 years of age from Australia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam, also unmasked that only half (53%) of the total 1,240 respondents from the region have installed internet security software on their devices.

Kaspersky experts suggest the following steps to keep financial data and personal information safe online.

Be careful about what you share on social media

Posting too much information on social media can make it easier for cybercriminals to piece together information about you. To maximize your online privacy, it is a good idea to:

  • Avoid publicizing your movements such as upcoming travel plans, as this alerts people that you will be away from your home during this time.
  • Avoid disclosing too much information such as your date of birth or workplace in any About Us or bio section of a social media profile. Avoid posting your home address or phone number in any public forum.
  • Check to see whether the social media platform you are using adds location data to your posts and if it does, turn this setting off. Most of the time, it is not necessary to share your location publicly.
  • Avoid the fun quizzes which occasionally do the rounds on social media. Often these can ask questions such as your favorite pet or where you went to school. These types of questions are often used as security questions, so making these answers public could make it easier for hackers to break into your online accounts.
  • Be wary of giveaways and contests. Many are legitimate but some are scams in disguise. By sharing them on social media, you could unknowingly spread malware or trick people into giving away their sensitive data.

Secure your mobile devices

  • Make sure you have a passcode not easily guessed to access your phone is a basic step. Being sure to download apps and games only from legitimate app stores is another.
  • Don’t jailbreak or root your phone – that can give hackers a way to overwrite your settings and install their own malicious software.
  • Consider downloading an app that can allow you to delete all the data on your phone remotely so that if your phone is stolen, you can delete your information easily.
  • Stay up to date with any software updates and be careful about clicking on links online, in the same way you would on a laptop or desktop.
  • A combined solution of security products and practical steps can minimise the threats and keep your data safe online.
  • Reliable security solutions for comprehensive protection from a wide range of threats can help solve the problem of keeping your personal information under control.

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