Identity theft top concern among Malaysians

PETALING JAYA: Financial institutions may need to further improve their security systems to ensure that their customers’ personal data is safe, said Unisys Asia South vice-president and general manager Scott Whyman.

“Preventive measures that can be taken to combat identity theft (for example) include implementing the use of biometric data, such as fingerprint reading and iris scanning for validating online transactions,” he said.

According to him, fraudsters are always on the look out for “softer targets” — those that don’t possess tightened and up-to-date security measures.

“And everyone should also be wary of the websites they visit or the online merchants that they buy from,” Whyman said.

He said that in the past, people shied away from online transactions due to threats from viruses and hackers.

Today’s encryption technologies and other programs to safeguard online transactions have reduced such threats but Internet users should always keep their guard up.

“While many people (and organisations) are less concerned about these threats nowadays, they still need to be on the lookout (for them),” Whyman said.

He was speaking to the press after releasing the results of the latest Unisys Security Index survey.

According to the survey, 78% of Malaysians who responded said they were very or extremely concerned over identity theft.

“Though there has been a slight decrease in the overall level of concern, Malaysians are beginning to be more aware of these (online) security risks and are looking into ways to reduce them,” Whyman said.

Identity theft is one of the primary concerns across the entire Asia-Pacific region because more people are going online and are being targeted by online fraudsters looking for easy prey, said Unisys.

After identity theft, the next primary concerns among Malaysians are credit or debit card fraud (76%) and the war on terrorism (71%), in that order.

The survey polled 872 Malaysians, aged between 18 and 64 years, across Peninsula Malaysia. Updated twice a year, the survey aims to provide a snapshot of the country’s sense of security in four key areas — national, personal, financial and Internet.

Other countries are also surveyed by Unisys, including Singapore and Hong Kong.

For full details of the Unisys Security Index survey for Malaysia, go to www.unisyssecurityindex.com.my.

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