More Singapore consumers fear tapping Wi-Fi hotspots than public loos

Almost 70 percent believe it's riskier to use public Wi-Fi than public toilets, while more Singapore consumers think their credit card data will be stolen online than from their wallets, reveals Norton survey.

When it comes to paranoia, it seems more Singaporeans are terrified of using Wi-Fi hotspots than they are of public toilets.

In fact, 69 percent or seven in 10 Singapore consumers believed tapping public Wi-Fi access carried more risks than using public loos, according to Symantec's latest Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report. The online survey polled 17,125 users across 17 countries including China, India, Japan, and Australia. There were 1,009 respondents from Singapore.

Some 62 percent from the city-state believed their credit card details were likely to be stolen online, compared to 38 percent who said this theft would involve their wallets. Another 71 percent said this theft was more likely to happen after making a purchase on line than from their wallets.

Seventy percent also believed storing their credit card and banking details in the cloud was riskier than not wearing a seatbelt. Among Singapore respondents, 47 percent said they had been affected by cybercrimes.

Norton's Asia-Pacific and Japan vice president of consumer and small business, Gavin Lowth, said: "Consumer confidence was rocked in 2014 by an unprecedented number of mega breaches that exposed the identities of millions of people who were simply making routine purchases from well-known retailers."

And the risks are real. According to the study, Singapore consumers spent an average of 20 hours in the past year dealing with the aftermath of an online crime, which also cost almost S$545 (US$385) per victim.

In Singapore, only 29 percent used passwords that were deemed secure by Norton's definition, which should comprise at least eight letters, numbers, and symbols. Almost one in four did not have a password on any device. In addition, consumers in the Little Red Dot were trusting of their friends and family, with 23 percent having shared the password of their bank account, while 59 percent shared passwords to their e-mail and 44 percent to their social media accounts.

Despite the seemingly generous act, 80 percent believed it was risky to share their e-mail password with a friend, compared to 20 percent who thought likewise when lending their car.

"Our findings demonstrate the headlines rattled people's trust in online activity, but the threat of cybercrime hasn't led to widespread adoption of simple protection measures people should take to safeguard their information online," Lowth noted.

Surprising, perhaps to some, would be the finding that Baby Boomers, often perceived to be less tech-savvy, appeared to have more secure online habits than Millennials. Some 33 percent of the latter revealed having shared their passwords and exhibiting other risky online behaviour, according to Norton.

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