Microsoft is advising mobile device users in Singapore to surf with caution, as the software giant published the results from its annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI) on 8 February 2013.
"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," said John Fernandes, chief marketing & operations officer, Microsoft Singapore.
"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," he said.
The index surveyed more than 10,000 PC, smartphone and tablet users in 20 countries and regions, including US, UK, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, China, Malaysia and Singapore.
In Singapore, where 529 users were polled, although 46 percent of Singapore respondents run software updates on their personal computers, a lower 41 percent run regular updates on their mobile devices, potentially compounding their risk, although this is much higher than the 29 percent globally.
The report also found that 78 percent of computer users are experiencing multiple online risks, yet only 23 percent say they take proactive steps to help protect themselves and their data, compared to the global average of 55 percent and 29 percent respectively.
Microsoft Singapore recommends that mobile phones should be locked with unique four digit PIN codes. It also advised users not to pay bills, bank, shop or conduct other sensitive business on a public computer, or on your laptop or mobile phone over "borrowed" or public wi-fi (such as a hotspot).
Another recommendation is that users have to treat suspicious messages cautiously, avoiding offers too good to be true and be wary of their senders, even if the messages appear to come from a trusted source. And before entering sensitive data at Web pages, users need to check for evidence of encryption (e.g., a Web address with "https" and a closed padlock beside it or in the lower right corner of the window).
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