KUALA LUMPUR: Most Malaysians feel they are largely responsible for protecting their personal online data, but more than half are not taking adequate measures to protect themselves.
According to a survey by Ipsos, a global market research agency, 61% of respondents use the same passwords and PINs for multiple accounts. Cyber security experts constantly urge people to use different passwords for different accounts and to frequently change their passwords.
The survey shows 94% of Malaysians believe they bear responsibility for protecting their own personal data, with 83% saying government bodies should share that responsibility.
The study, involving 996 consumers aged 18 to 74 in both Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak from Dec 1 to 9 last year, was to understand Malaysian’s views and attitudes towards data privacy.
According to the survey, respondents are convinced the government and government bodies (80%) and banking/financial institutions (76%) are doing enough to protect their personal data.
Only 51% of respondents are willing to deal with companies that they trust to protect their personal data, while less than 50% trust telecommunications/mobile, online e-commerce and social media companies to handle their personal information appropriately.
Also, less than half are confident that companies use secured systems to store personal data (45%) and will not misuse their personal data for other gains (41%).
The survey also found that less than half of respondents (44%) were aware and had some knowledge about online data privacy. According to the survey report, respondents from Sabah and Sarawak, the “uneducated group” (those with qualifications below SPM level) and the older-aged group (45 to 74 years) “do not have any knowledge about online data privacy”.
Other findings are that 31% of respondents do not review, or understand privacy policies pertaining to websites that they use; only 39% use different passwords or PINs across their various accounts; about 36% store passwords and PINs in what they believe are secured locations; and 30% feel they do not have sufficient control over personal data on the internet.
Arun Menon, director of public affairs at Ipsos Malaysia said: “The study shows Malaysians do care about data privacy, and view themselves as having shared responsibility to safeguard their own personal data.
“However, they are doing less to protect themselves, as 61% use the same passwords and PINs for multiple accounts and, surprisingly, 31% would store these in locations that they believe are safe.”
He said government bodies and private organisations must continue to educate citizens and their customers on the importance of data protection and ensure that their rights were protected.