17 February 2014

The financial and professional repercussions of risky Internet practices

The results of the third annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), which measures the online safety behaviour of over 10,000 consumers in 20 countries, including Singapore and the US, UK, Australia, China and India, has revealed that online trouble resulted in an estimated US$23 billion in worldwide financial losses in 2013, with financial loss due to the compromise of professional reputation being the most costly. 

Source: Microsoft
“The Internet is an integral part of our daily lives; we email to stay connected, share photos and videos, pay bills, and shop. However, the very experiences that we love about the Internet sometimes put us at risk. 

"The latest findings from the Microsoft Computing Safety Index reveal the impact of not taking proactive steps to protect ourselves can have significant repercussions both financially and professionally," said Stephanie Hung, Director, Public Sector, Microsoft Singapore.

According to the MCSI survey, the annual worldwide impact of phishing and various forms of identity theft could be as high as US$5 billion, with the cost of repairing damage to peoples’ online reputation higher yet at nearly US$6 billion, or an estimated average of US$632 per loss.
In Singapore, where 529 users were polled:
·        12% said they were victims of a phishing attack, losing on average US$158 or about S$200 (Global figures are 15% and US$158 respectively)
·        8% said their professional reputation had been compromised, costing on average US$552 or S$700  to repair (Global figures are 13% and US$535 respectively)
·        7 percent said they had suffered identity theft at an average cost of US$197 or S$250 (Global figures are 9% US$218 respectively)

Yet despite such losses, only 42% said they limit what strangers see on social networks and the amount of personal information online, while 43% said they adjust their social network privacy settings. And, only 41% use a PIN (personal identification number) or password to lock their mobile device.  

*Now it its third year, the Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI) survey measures the online safety behaviour of almost 10,500 consumers in 20 countries. The survey was conducted March through May 2013 and asked consumers to share their online experiences for the 12 months prior. Countries in the survey include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.