In conjunction with the international Safer Internet Day, Singapore topped the second annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), released on 8 February.

Among more than 10,000 personal computer (PC), smartphone and tablet users in 20 countries, the 529 respondents polled in Singapore scored the highest for PC online safety with 42 points, eight points above the global average of 34 points.

While Singapore ranks among the most vigilant about computer safety worldwide, there remain concerns that consumers are not doing enough to change their online habits despite the potential risks. The MCSI results showed that while 78 percent of computer users in Singapore are experiencing multiple online risks, only 23 percent take proactive steps to protect themselves and their data — in comparison to the global average of 55 percent and 29 percent respectively.

This year, the MCSI added a mobile component to the study: the Mobile MCSI seeks to understand consumer adoption of proven online tools and behaviours to help protect them while on their mobile devices. In terms of mobile safety, although 46 percent of Singapore respondents run software updates on their PCs, a lower 41 percent run regular updates on their mobile devices — potentially compounding the risk.  

“Mobile devices often have just as much, if not more, valuable personal information stored on them as a home computer, making mobile devices equally attractive to data-stealing criminals. The latest MCSI results demonstrate that no matter where or how people access the Internet, exercising safer online habits is essential. There are steps that people can take and technologies that they can employ to help prevent them from becoming a victim,” said John Fernandes, Chief Marketing and Operations Officer, Microsoft Singapore.

Consumers can take the following steps to protect themselves from online threats:

  • Lock computers and accounts with strong passwords, and mobile phones with a unique four-digit PIN
  • Avoid paying bills or conducting sensitive transactions on a public computer or over public Wi-Fi
  • Watch for snoops and people scouting for passwords, PINs, user names or other such data
  • Treat suspicious messages with caution
  • Look for signs that a web page is secure and legitimate before entering sensitive data
  • Reduce spam in your inbox

For more information on the range of online safety tools and resources offered by Microsoft, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/security

“Mobile devices often have just as much, if not more, valuable personal information stored on them as a home computer, making mobile devices equally attractive to data-stealing criminals.”

- John Fernandes, Chief Marketing and Operations Officer, Microsoft Singapore