PH cybersecurity concerns higher than global average, survey says

By Edd K. Usman

The cybersecurity concerns of Filipinos are 40-percent higher than the global average, a 2017 Unisys Security Index survey covering 13 countries said.

Unisys executive John Kendall (right) poses for a photo opportunity as he shakes hands with DICT assistant secretary Allan Cabanlong of the DICT. Looking on is Peter Wallace, founder/head of the Wallace Business Forum

Unisys executive John Kendall (right) poses for a photo opportunity as he shakes hands with DICT assistant secretary Allan Cabanlong of the DICT. Looking on is Peter Wallace, founder/head of the Wallace Business Forum

The poll, which covered the Philippines for the first time, also showed that Filipino women are more concerned about personal security than men — 90 percent against 81 percent. Both Filipino men and women have expressed the same levels of apprehension over unauthorized access to or misuse of their personal information at 93 percent.

Moreover, Filipinos have become selective about sharing personal information with organizations, especially with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data analytics.

“The fact that [Filipinos] have a high level of concern means that people are aware of it and hopefully that they are taking the right steps as well,” said John Kendall, director of Border and National Security Program at Unisys Global Public Sector, during the release of the Security Index in Makati City.

Filipinos’ top security concerns are identity theft and natural disasters (which both got 93 percent); bank card fraud (89 percent); and viruses and hacking (88 percent), said the survey which polled 1,000 Filipino adults in April 2017.

Owing to these survey results, “approximately nine in 10 Filipinos are seriously concerned about identity theft, credit card/debit fraud, and computer security,” Kendall said.

These concerns — which “are most likely to impact them personally” — are a reflection of “the very real threat that their personal details may be stolen and sold to the dark web — highlighted by last year’s breach of the Philippine voter registry database,” Kendall said, referring to what is now known as the “Comeleak” after hackers broke into the voters’ database of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that exposed millions of voters’ personal information.

The National Privacy Commission (NPC), after studying the leak, recommended criminal prosecution against Comelec officials concerned.

The Unisys survey covered the Philippines for the first time

The Unisys survey covered the Philippines for the first time

Kendall recommended that organizations collecting and using the Philippine consumer data must show that they are employing robust cyber resiliency frameworks to safeguard the data in their care, from both malicious and accidental data breach threats.

Results of the survey also indicate that:

• Ninety-four percent of Filipinos have expressed support for having a button on their smart phones or smartwatches to alert police to their location during emergencies. In contrast, only 42 percent of Filipinos support police being able to monitor fitness tracker location data at any time.

• Eighty-four percent of Filipinos support medical devices such as pace makers or blood sugar sensors automatically transmitting significant changes to a patient’s doctor. Yet only 54 percent of people support health insurers tracking fitness monitor data to determine premiums or even reward healthy behavior.

• Filipinos refuse to share data with organizations via IoT unless there is a compelling enough reason for data-sharing.

• Only half of Filipinos support using an app on their smartwatches or smart phones to make payments, citing data security concerns. However, 79 percent of Filipinos support fingerprint scans to control who can access data on their smartwatch, and 71 percent support finger print scans to authorize payments by their smartwatch.

• Ninety-one percent of Filipinos support police or border security staff wearing facial recognition body cameras to identify known criminals or terrorists and 77 percent support border security officers in airports using data analytics to assess the travel history of passengers to determine if they are eligible for fast-track border clearance.

• However, there is low support for other government agencies accessing personal spending data from credit card records and insurance policies. Only 45 percent of Filipinos support the tax office using such data to verify tax returns, and even fewer, 35 percent, support welfare agencies using this data to verify claims.

• Only 44 percent of Filipinos support moves of banks to analyze customer data collected from multiple sources to offer them targeted services and products.

“The findings reveal law enforcement, national security and serious medical conditions are considered acceptable justification, but others are not,” Kendall said.

For his part, assistant secretary Allan Cabanlong of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said that Filipinos should avoid having their data compromised by not giving out too much information. “Most of our users are giving out so much information,” he said during the event.

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