Survey Shows Singaporeans Aware But Continue to Share

PayPal in Singapore and the National Crime Prevention Council are joining forces to educate Singaporeans to be more savvy on the Internet world. This survey by Nielsen Company shows some interesting information about our behavior on the Internet.

Online and Mobile Safety: Singaporeans aware but continue to share

SINGAPORE, 7 October, 2011 In view of the numerous cyber-attacks worldwide this year, PayPal in Singapore and the National Crime Prevention Council are joining forces and calling Singaporeans to be smarter about sharing their personal information online. The first ‘PayPal Online and Mobile Safety Insights’ study in Singapore revealed that 91 per cent of Singaporeans were concerned about the amount of personal and financial information they share online, yet, almost half of them admitted to not knowing how many websites hold their personal details. Besides measuring digital identity risks and online transaction behaviour, the study highlighted interesting trends in mobile payments, and how security and convenience play an even more important role for Singaporeans when using their mobile phones for transactions.

Digital identity concerns and risky behaviour

As Singaporeans continue to embrace online shopping, internet banking, social networking, and other online services, there is a growing requirement to log on to many different systems and platforms. Alarmingly, the research found that 1 in 2 Singaporeans were using the same password across multiple accounts. This suggests that many internet users here underestimate the threat from cyber criminals who abuse this habit: stealing passwords from one site and attempting to replicate them across others to potentially steal a person’s entire digital identity.

Mr Lum Hon Fye, Chairman of Infocomm Technology Committee, National Crime Prevention Council said: “Cybercrimes will become more prevalent if the public does not stay vigilant while communicating or transacting in the cyber world. Education and knowledge is the key to Singaporeans remaining alert and staying one step ahead of cyber criminals. Assessing with whom and where they are sharing their personal information is an important first step.”

“In line with the Singapore government’s recent efforts to raise awareness of cyber security, PayPal aims to work with local community partners like the National Crime Prevention Council to educate Singaporeans on how to stay safe online,” said Elias Ghanem, Managing Director, PayPal Southeast Asia and India. “Using the same password at multiple sites is like using the same key for your house, your car, and your office. We’re highlighting this risky behaviour to all Singaporeans and encouraging them to take personal responsibility for their first line of defence through a stronger password system.”

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Security and convenience are top of mind for online and mobile transactions

With the growing popularity of digital lifestyles and the increasing potential for online identify theft and fraud worldwide, the majority of Singaporeans (88%) said they want a more secure way to transact online. The study also revealed that Singapore online shoppers are concerned about sharing financial information as more than half the respondents (55%) are not comfortable sharing their credit card, debit card or bank account details online.

The survey also highlighted the value of security for Singaporeans when they shop online. Nearly 8 out of 10 respondents said they would only spend between S$1 and S$100 on an unfamiliar website, whereas, more than 5 out of 10 respondents said they would spend greater than S$500 on a familiar website.

With high smartphone adoption rates in Singapore, nearly 7 out of 10 respondents said using their mobile device would be faster and more convenient because they can make a transaction “anytime, anywhere”. However, nearly two thirds of mobile shoppers had previously stopped a mobile transaction in the past because of the hassle of entering financial details on a small screen.

Other top concerns for respondents transacting via their mobile devices include:

  • 61% were worried that they would expose their financial details if they lose their mobile device
  • 57% believe that it is difficult to do an online transaction on a mobile device as most websites do not fit the small screen size or take too long to load
  • 48% felt that mobile devices do not have security features installed

Majority (75%) of respondents who had used their mobile device to transact said they were only willing to spend between S$1 and S$100 on one single transaction on their mobile phone. This demonstrates that consumers are not yet willing to transact higher amounts on their mobile phones because of convenience and security considerations.

Elias commented further, “Clearly, security and peace of mind are top concerns for Singaporeans when they shop online as most people are willing to spend at least 5 times more on a site they recognise and trust. When it comes to mobile transactions, security and convenience play an even greater role to convince Singaporeans to shop anytime and anywhere on their mobile devices.”

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To help Singaporeans increase their online and mobile safety, PayPal and NCPC have some top tips:

  • Stay safe, start young – Educate your children. NCPC offers, a virtual world game for young children. This game is available free to all primary schools and equips them with the right knowledge to handle the many facets of cyber wellness, cyber safety and security.
  • Audit, Audit, Audit – Complete an audit of where your details are held online and on your mobile devices and delete anything that is unnecessary. Remove yourself from old mailing lists and consolidate your details using trusted tools to store your personal financial information securely. Always think twice before entering details online – never click ‘remember my details’ on sites, and ensure that your privacy settings are activated on social networking sites.
  • Employ password etiquette – Using an obvious password like “password” or the name or birthday of a family member is a very common mistake. Instead, use a strong password which includes a combination of upper and lowercase letters and numbers. Tier your passwords depending on the sensitivity of the information you are sharing, never auto save your passwords on websites, and change them every few months. Finally, never keep your personal information documented in any one place on your computer.
  • Beware of phishing emails – If you’re not sure if an email is legitimate, don’t click on links in the email, don’t enter your username or password and don’t give out your financial details. Online payment platforms will never ask you to divulge your sensitive information via email. They will require you to securely login to your account first before asking for more info. Always open a new browser and type in the URL of the company’s website before entering your personal details.
  • Use trusted sites and a digital wallet when transacting online – always look for the padlock icon on sites before entering your account information and password. Also look for websites that start with “https” as they provide an additional layer of encryption often used for online payment transactions and for sensitive transactions in corporate information systems. Use a digital wallet to complete an online transaction without having to enter in your sensitive financial details (like credit or debit card info) on a website.
  • Lock and password protect your phone – It’s the most important thing you can do to ensure security on your mobile device. Use a PIN/password on your device and set it to time-out so it locks automatically. Set your maximum number of incorrect password submissions to no more than three. In addition, use a digital wallet that does not store your sensitive financial info on the mobile device. If your phone is lost or stolen, thieves won’t be able to access your personal information and accounts.
  • “APP-ly” common sense – When choosing apps to download, use common sense. Purchase or download apps from well-known, reliable companies or do your research – such as checking reviews- before downloading an app from an unknown source. Use the most up-to-date version of an app. Unknown or repackaged apps can be armed with malware able to steal details from a user’s phone.
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About the Research Study

The research study, ‘PayPal Online and Mobile Safety Insights 2011’ was commissioned by PayPal in Singapore and designed and executed by The Nielsen Company from July 26 to August 7, 2011. Over one thousand responses (1,003) were collected from Singaporeans aged 18 or above who had transacted online or through their mobile devices (online shopping, bills payment or internet banking) in the past three months.

About PayPal

PayPal is the faster, safer way to pay and get paid online. The service allows members to send payments without sharing financial information, with the flexibility to pay using their account balances, bank accounts (where available), debit cards and credit cards in various markets. PayPal is an eBay company and enables global e-commerce with more than 100 million active accounts in 190 markets and 25 currencies around the world. More information about the company can be found at

PayPal is headquartered in San Jose, California and its international headquarters is located in Singapore.