About four out of 10 Hong Kongers say fraudulent messages are more common than ever
More than half of the millennial population experienced online threats in the past year.
A significant 40% of adults in Hong Kong have noticed a surge in scams and cyberattacks over the past year, leaving residents feeling vulnerable. Alarmingly, only 18% of respondents believe they possess the necessary tools and knowledge to effectively confront cyber threats.
A recent cybersecurity survey conducted in Hong Kong on behalf of Norton, a consumer Cyber Safety brand under GenTM, has shed light on the persisting online threats in the city, ranging from phishing attacks to scams and identity thefts.
The findings reveal that despite growing awareness, online threats continue to plague Hong Kong's digital landscape.
Of those surveyed who admitted to falling victim to online threats, more than half, or 51%, revealed that they experienced adverse consequences as a result.
Among various age groups, individuals aged 30 to 39 reported the highest incidence of online threats, with a staggering 53% claiming to have encountered some form of online menace within the past 12 months.
The ransomware menace
The survey identified ransomware as the most perilous threat. An alarming 73% of ransomware victims reported losses in both time and money due to these attacks. Cybercriminals employ diverse tactics to perpetrate online threats, often with the objective of monetary gain or even identity theft.
The risk of financial fraud has intensified, as evidenced by recent actions taken by the Hong Kong Police Force against identity theft groups specializing in credit card fraud. The survey's statistics are cause for concern, with one-third (33%) of respondents confirming they fell victim to credit card and tax fraud, along with fake loans in the past year.
Notably, the survey revealed a shift in cybercriminals' focus towards younger victims aged 20 to 39. This shift may be attributed to their extensive internet usage and digital presence, making them more susceptible to online threats.
Online threats have taken a toll on victims, with more than half of Hong Kong adults who experienced these threats reporting financial losses, time, or both. On average, victims incurred losses of at least $1,000. Credit card fraud and fake loans emerged as the most common forms of identity theft, resulting in average reported financial losses of $850 and $1,250, respectively.
Identity restoration dilemma
Despite the challenges posed by online threats, victims often struggle to restore their identities.
Only 21% of surveyed victims expressed confidence in their ability to independently restore their identities, while a concerning 14% admitted they were unable to restore their identities at all.
The survey findings underscore the pressing need for increased cybersecurity awareness and preparedness among Hong Kong's population to mitigate the growing threat of online attacks and financial fraud.