CSA’s survey finds S’poreans’ cyber hygiene practices lacking. Here are tips on how to protect yourself from scams.

Better to be cyber safe than sorry.

| Syahindah Ishak | Sponsored | December 15, 2023, 11:39 AM

As someone who works in the media industry, I’m practically married to my phone.

It’s with me wherever I go (even to the bathroom).

But with the rise of online scams in Singapore, I find myself worrying more these days.

And I’m not the only one.

According to the 2022 Cybersecurity Public Awareness Survey, six in 10 respondents felt that the likelihood of their computers and/ or devices being compromised was high, as compared to about four in 10 respondents in 2020.

Additionally, one in three respondents indicated that they fell victim to cyber incidents in 2022.

The survey, which was conducted by Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), polled 1,051 respondents aged 15 years and above on their attitudes towards cyber incidents, mobile and Internet-of-Things (IoT) security.

Respondents were also polled on their awareness and adoption of good cyber hygiene practices.

How are our cyber hygiene practices?

I personally feel that my own cyber hygiene practice can be better.

I admit that I don’t enable two-factor authentication (2FA) in all of my messaging accounts, personal emails and social media.

I also often procrastinate on updating my mobile device’s software, even after multiple prompts.

But, again, I’m not alone in this.

Only 35 per cent of respondents in the 2022 Cybersecurity Public Awareness Survey enabled 2FA for all online accounts and apps.

This is an increase from the 22 per cent in 2020, though it still hasn’t reached any kind of ideal percentage.

The survey also found that in 2022, there was a slight decrease in respondents (27 per cent) who accepted their mobile devices’ updates immediately, as compared to 2020 (30 per cent).

It appears that I’m part of a larger, more concerning trend in Singapore, at least according to this survey findings.

You can view the full survey results here.

According to the Mid-Year Scams and Cybercrime Statistics 2023, which was released by the Singapore Police Force, there were over 22,339 scam cases reported in the first half of 2023.

This is an increase of 64.5 per cent from the same period last year.

I also decided to do my own (kind of reliable but totally unprofessional) poll on Instagram, using Mothership’s main account.

I posted an Instagram story with the question: “Do you have a cybersecurity app on your phone?”

Here are the results:

So it’s true then — the adoption of cybersecurity practices in Singapore is truly lacking.

Tips on how to better protect ourselves from scams

Following the release of the survey findings, CSA launched its fifth National Cybersecurity Campaign in end-September 2023.

Through this campaign, CSA continues to raise awareness on good cyber hygiene practices, and encourages these four cyber tips:

  1. Enable 2FA and use strong passphrases
  2. Beware of phishing scams
  3. Update software promptly
  4. Add ScamShield and anti-virus (AV) apps

ScamShield is a product that protects users from scams, and is developed by the Government.

The ScamShield mobile app has three main features:

  • Automatically blocks scam calls
  • Automatically detects scam messages
  • Allows users to report scam messages and calls

And the ScamShield Bot has two core features:

  • Check if a message or a call is a scam
  • Report scams to the Singapore Police Force

On top of having ScamShield on your devices, you should also download some security apps, as recommended by CSA.

This is especially important during the year-end festive season, where cybercriminals use festive-related offers to lure in unsuspecting victims to trick them into downloading malicious apps or providing confidential information.

CSA has curated a list of seven security apps for Android and iOS devices.

These apps have key features, such as malware and phishing detection capabilities to protect users against mobile security threats.

Image via CSA.

More information on the National Cybersecurity Campaign can be found here.

This sponsored article by CSA made the writer immediately download the security apps CSA recommends.

Top image by LTA.