APAC consumers have concerns about online privacy, but let it go for freebies

More than half of consumers in Asia-Pacific are concerned about protecting their online and physical lives, but 20% are willing to offer their personal data for free products or services, while 24% share their social media details for quizzes.

More than half of Asia-Pacific consumers are concerned about safeguarding their online and physical wellbeing, 20% are willing to offer up their personal details in exchange for free products or services. Another 24% will also share their social media account details to participate in fun quizzes. 

They expressed a willingness to do so even when 40% admitted they had experienced incidents in which their personal data was accessed by someone who did not have their prior consent, according to the Kaspersky Global Privacy Report 2020. Conducted by research firm Toluna, the survey polled 15,002 respondents across 23 countries, including 3,012 from Asia-Pacific

The study revealed that another 39% of data breaches had involved an illegal takeover of user devices, while 31% had their personal data stolen or illegally used. Some 20% had their personal information publicly disclosed. 

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As a result of having their data privacy compromised, 39% were inundated with spam and ads, while 33% felt stressed over the breach. Some 24% said their personal reputation was damaged and 19% said they ended up offending someone, or lost money, or were bullied as a result. 

Another 16% were blackmailed, while 14% said their careers suffered. For 10% of respondents, a breach on their personal data ended in a divorce or broken relationship. 

Unsurprisingly, 20% acknowledged they needed help learning how to safeguard their online privacy.

Kaspersky's Asia-Pacific managing director Stephan Neumeier said: "It is a welcome progress that majority of consumers are now concerned about their online privacy, but their virtual habits and security know-how must undergo an overhaul. With the current remote working situation in the majority of the countries in Asia-Pacific, digital privacy should be a concern for both personal users and enterprises. 

"Our corporate networks have reached the comfort of our homes, in turn, increasing cybercriminals' surface of attack. It's definitely high time to improve cyber hygiene for both our personal and professional reputation and peace of mind," Neumeier said.

He noted that cybercriminals exploited major trends or crises, which made users more vulnerable. He urged consumers to exercise caution with personal data they shared online and to understand how these data would be used. "Revisit your privacy settings and tweak them accordingly," he added. "The internet is a place of opportunities and anyone can benefit from it as long as we know how to intelligently manage our data and our online habits."

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