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Trust over data privacy hits rock bottom in APAC - survey

By Jessie Chiang
Tue 19 Apr 2022

Digital security company Imperva has found that APAC residents are the most likely in the world to stop using a service if there are data privacy breaches, according to a new survey.

Half of APAC respondents say they stopped or would stop using a company's services following a serious data breach. This is the highest number globally – substantially higher than the average of 43% in other parts of the world.

Imperva has released their No Silver Linings report which is informed by the online global YouGov survey of adults in the US and UK and more than 2,000 respondents from Singapore and Australia.

Sharing personal data is a requirement to access many digital services, and about two-thirds of APAC respondents feel they have no choice but to do so. Meanwhile, 37% say their trust in digital service providers' willingness to protect their personal data has decreased over the past five years.

More than half say they share their data with so many companies online every day that they can't possibly verify each one's track record of how well they look after and protect personal data.

There's a good reason for the distrust. The study also found that to a greater extent than any other region surveyed, APAC residents have shared more personal data than two years ago.

Imperva Asia Pacific and Japan regional VP George Lee warns that businesses need to focus on who is accessing their data and protect the paths a cybercriminal might exploit to get to it.

"Consumers face a disheartening Catch-22 scenario: they need digital services to operate in modern life, but their trust in these services is deteriorating," he says.

"Taking a data-centric security approach must be part of every organisation's strategy as consumers grow increasingly cynical of the services they use."

Imperva says even industries that handle the most valuable and sensitive data are not trusted. Only 44% trust government organisations, and 41% trust financial services. There is almost no trust in social media companies (8%), online gaming (5%) and retailers (5%).

APAC residents also prefer two or multi-factor authentication (2FA/MFA). Their degree of comfort in sharing information with digital services and apps that use 2FA/MFA is consistently above the global average across different sectors, including health, financial and personal information.

The cloud is full of secrets

APAC residents also admitted sharing some of their most intimate secrets on cloud messaging services. This includes saying something about a colleague, friend or family member that could ruin a relationship, saying something sexist, racist or homophobic, discussing sexual fantasies or fetishes or talking about reproductive health issues.

An overwhelming majority of respondents - 93% - admit they could face serious consequences if their private discussions online were leaked.

  • 51% say they would ruin relationships with their friends/family if their conversations were uncovered
  • 45% would feel violated by the experience
  • 41% would have their mental health impacted
  • 35% could be left open to blackmail 
  • 29% could lose or be forced to leave their job

Imperva says organisations serving APAC customers need to swiftly strengthen their ability to manage and protect sensitive data. It says firms that fail to do so should expect to see their business and revenue impacted.

The "No Silver Linings" report, authored by Imperva, is informed by an online YouGov survey.

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