Few Singaporeans able to identify all phishing email: survey

Some 66% of consumers in Singapore are aware of phishing attacks, but just 4% can correctly identify all phishing email in an online survey conducted for Cyber Security of Singapore.

Consumers in Singapore may know what phishing entails, but few are able to properly identify the various types of phishing email. In addition, inertia continues to persist with amongst some who believe they will not fall victim to online scams. 

Some 66% in Singapore said they aware of phishing attacks, but just 4% were able to correctly identify all phishing email shown to them in an online study. Conducted in December last year for Cyber Security Agency (CSA), the annual Cybersecurity Public Awareness Survey polled 1,000 respondents to assess adoption and awareness of cyber hygiene behaviour and attitudes. 

While 86% correctly identified phishing email that promised attractive rewards, a lower 57% were able to pick out email message with suspicious attachments and 53% could identify phishing email requesting for confidential information.

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The 2019 survey also revealed that 85% recognised the risks of not installing security apps on their mobile devices, but just 47% did so. This was a slight increase of 45% in 2018 who installed security apps on their devices. 

In addition, the adoption rate for two-factor authentication climbed slightly to 83% in 2019 from 80% in the previous year. 

This despite the fact that more Singaporeans were using their mobile devices for online transactions, with 80% doing so last year compared to 73% in 2018. Furthermore, 82% expressed moderate to extreme concern that cybercriminals would hijack control of their computer or obtain their financial information without prior consent. 

The survey revealed that 28% had fallen victim to at least one cyber incident over the past 12 months, with 14% experiencing unauthorised attempts to access their online accounts. Another 10% had such accounts used to contact others without their consent. 

Upon experiencing a security incident, 68% said they changed their passwords, while 46% reported the breach to the relevant organisation. Another 30% installed an antivirus software and 8% did not take any action.

Despite 78% of respondents who were worried about falling prey to online scammers or fraudsters, just 27% believed there was a likelihood such incidents could happen to them. 

CSA's chief executive and commissioner of cybersecurity David Koh said: "With our increasing reliance on technology, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunistic cybercriminals now have a bigger hunting ground. It is important for us to shake off the 'it will not happen to me' mindset, stay vigilant, and take steps to protect ourselves online so that we do not become the next victim."

Cybercrime accounted for 26.8% of all crimes in Singapore last year, with e-commerce scams the most popular and used by scammers who hoodwinked 2,809 victims. This was a 30% increase from 2,161 reported cases in 2018, according to the Singapore Cyber Landscape 2019 report released in June by CSA. Citing figures from the local police, the report noted that victims of e-commerce scams continued to be lured by attractive online deals on items such as electronic gadgets and event tickets.

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(Source: Singapore's Cyber Security Agency)

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