In a survey involving 1,394 Filipino netizens, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab deduced that 50 percent of the respondents were not able to identify the cyberthreats they encountered, making them vulnerable to all kinds of malware and phishing attempts.
The Filipino respondents scored 97 overall, placing them within the risk group based on Kaspersky Lab’s experience in dealing with cyberthreats. A score of 137 and above meant users are the safest; 113 to 137 meant they are generally secure but may make online mistakes; and 75 to 113 are those averagely at risk. Respondents who scored below 75 are those who are most vulnerable.
The survey revealed that 49.4 percent of Filipinos do not delete applications that they don’t use, well above the global average of 37 percent. Anthony Chua, territory channel manager for the Philippines and Singapore at Kaspersky Lab Southeast Asia, explained “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 It is a dire error to leave apps with old software stocked on your devices because these applications have outdated programs which may become a widely open door that cybercriminals can exploit easily.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.”
Meanwhile, 16 percent of respondents are more likely to open phishing and ransomware emails from arresting sources such as the tax office. These often have accompanying attachments with names such as “information about your unpaid fines” that infects the system with malware when opened.
Additionally, only 11 percent of those surveyed can identify a safe web page. Kaspersky Lab also pitted four Facebook page screenshots—three of which are from known phishing sites—and found out that 72 percent of Filipinos cannot identify the genuine one.
“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,” warned Chua.
How then can you protect yourself from falling victim to cyberthreats? Kaspersky Lab recommends the following:
- Check the link for spelling issues. If any are present and you know that it’s a reputable sire (for example, “reddit” turned to “raddit”), then the link you have is likely fraudulent.
- Https prefixes before the site URL means it’s secure and you can safely enter your credentials.
- Be cautious when receiving messages from your friends as they may be hacked.
- The same rule applies to emails from institutions such as banks, tax agencies, online shops, travel agencies, airlines, your own office, and the like. It’s not difficult to create a genuine-looking message.
- Check hyperlinks before clicking on them as they may take you to a different website than what is advertised.
- Immediately report any phishing campaigns that you see so the security holes can quickly be patched.
- When connecting to public Wi-Fi, keep in mind to stray away from services such as online banking as it’s easy to phish information from them. Fraudsters can also easily create public Wi-Fi access and steal your data.
- Install reliable security software and follow its recommendations