Survey: Many Filipinos vulnerable to cybercrime

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While many Filipinos still keep traditional passwords that are considered unsecure in online banking transactions, they are open to adopting biometrics to protect themselves from fraud, Silicon Valley-based analytics software company FICO said on Monday.

Citing the results of its latest consumer digital banking survey, FICO said that “a notable percentage of Filipinos are not taking the necessary precautions to protect their passwords and logins when banking online.”

The study found that only 53 percent were using separate passwords to access multiple accounts; 18 percent have between two to five passwords they reuse across accounts, and 14 percent use a single password across all accounts.

Additionally, while 15 percent of respondents use an encrypted password manager (which is considered a best practice), 29 percent adopted risky approaches to recall passwords such as writing them down in a notebook, FICO said.

The survey also found out the many Filipinos had a difficult time remembering their passwords. “Nearly a third of respondents (32 percent) reported that they have abandoned an online purchase because they forgot the login information and 30 percent saying they were unable to check an account balance. Forgotten usernames and passwords also affect new account openings, with 18 percent saying that it has stopped them doing so with an existing provider,” FICO said.

Besides passwords, other security alternatives being used by most Filipinos included one-time passcode via text message (62 percent of respondents); fingerprint scan (45 percent); one-time passcode via email (40 percent); facial scan (23 percent), as well as one-time passcode generated by bank-supplied device (20 percent), FICO said.

With social distancing being implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, FICO’s survey showed that 76 percent of Filipinos wanted to do online banking to avail themselves of loans (33 percent), use credit cards (38 percent) or do the usual bank transactions (40 percent).

To avoid online fraud and scams as well as protect their bank accounts, FICO said Filipinos had become more accepting of biometrics, with the study revealing that 72 percent were also happy to provide this information to their bank.

The use of fingerprints was the most widely accepted approach (76 percent), facial scans came second (40 percent) and eye scans came in third (23 percent). A more popular alternative with Filipinos was analysis of how they type in their password (77 percent), a technique known as behavioral biometrics, FICO said.

“As the pandemic drives take-up of online services by consumers, criminals are preying on this reliance and targeting consumers with malicious activities such as phishing and social engineering. With social distancing restrictions in the Philippines still in place, most Filipinos are only able to access their finances digitally, so it’s essential for them to educate themselves and adopt security best practices,” FICO’s Asia-Pacific lead for fraud, security and compliance Subhashish Bose said.

“It’s very important for consumers to protect themselves from online scams and fraud. Filipinos recognize that usernames and passwords are old technology, with only 43 percent prepared to use them when logging into mobile banking apps. They are willing and ready to adopt additional biometrics to secure their accounts. Financial institutions that can adopt more secure authentication technologies will be seen as trustworthy market-leaders in the Philippines,” Bose added.

For this survey, FICO commissioned an independent researcher to conduct an online poll across 5,000 adults aged 18 and above in 10 countries, which besides the Philippines included Brazil, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. INQ


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