Malaysia's high internet penetration increases exposure to risks

Huge increase in cyber crimes reported during COVID-19 pandemic

Malaysia's high internet penetration increases exposure to risks

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Malaysia, with its high internet penetration rate, is very vulnerable to cyber risks, especially with the irrevocable changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to life and work, according to a report by Chubb.

According to the Digital business accelerated report’s findings for Malaysia, the country has among the highest internet penetration rates in Southeast Asia at 84%, or 27.43 million internet users. With the Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed last year to prevent the spread of COVID-19, internet usage has increased even further. Malaysians spent an average of nine hours and 17 minutes daily on the internet in 2020, up 17% from the previous year.

This was also reflected in the e-commerce market, which has tripled in size since 2015 and is expected to reach MYR46.6 billion (SG$15.1 billion) by 2025.

The increased reliance on the internet has caused an increase in cyber crime. During the 2020 MCO, the number of reported cyber crimes rose by 82.5%, as malicious attackers took advantage of those ill-equipped to cope with the unforeseen changes

The pandemic has transformed how Malaysians work, with two-thirds of employees now preferring flexible working arrangements, while 62% of companies are considering redesigning the office space to accommodate hybrid work styles. Accelerated digital adoption has resulted in changes in the workforce, with nine out of 10 Malaysian employees saying that they are willing to undergo retraining in order to secure their jobs and keep up with an increasingly digitalised economy.  

“In a bid to deliver better customer experiences and touchpoints, businesses will eventually need to start embracing a digital-first communications approach,” Chubb said. “This however also brings with it new risks particularly where a large amount of sensitive data is involved, or digital infrastructure resilience is untested. Awareness of cyber risks and tools for mitigation against cyber threats also need to grow in the face of an evolving digital marketplace.”

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