APAC IT Decision-Makers Woefully Underprepared for Cyber Risks

Only 3% can correctly identify which emails and SMS are legitimate or scams
Fewer than half know the steps to take following a data breach

KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, today announced new research which has found IT decision-makers are complacent about risks to the business from phishing and BEC (Business Email Compromise – also known as CEO Fraud). Surprisingly, fewer than half (45 percent) of APAC IT decision makers say they are concerned about phishing as a risk to their organisation, while even fewer are concerned about BEC (34 percent).Woman at Computer-1

When asked to determine whether example emails and SMS were real or fake, only three percent of APAC IT decision-makers were able to correctly identify them all. In addition, more than a quarter (27 percent) of APAC IT decision-makers use their work phones for personal activity and 25 percent use their work email address for personal activity.

Jacqueline Jayne, Security Awareness Advocate for APAC at KnowBe4 is concerned: “When those charged with keeping a business secure are unaware of the risks and unable to identify scam emails and SMS messages, their organisations are at significant risk. According to the ACCC, Australians lost a record $323 million to scams in 2021 (up a massive 84 percent from the previous year) and Singapore’s Anti-Scam Centre states Singaporeans lost $201.7million in the first half of 2021. If those in charge of security are unaware of best practices, then they cannot educate and train employees.

“When employees are using their work email address for personal activities such as online shopping, they are much more likely to fall victim to a phishing attack that uses a hook such as delivery delays to entice the victim to click through. Having a clear separation between work and personal activities makes it much easier to spot when an email is a scam – if you know you never shop online using your work email address, then you know that email from Amazon cannot be real.”

Data breach protocol

Alarmingly, fewer than half (46%) of APAC IT decision-makers say they are confident they would know the steps they would need to take following a cyber incident or data breach in their organisation.

Furthermore, just four in ten APAC IT decision-makers believe the employees in their organisations understand the business impact of falling victim to a cyber attack (47%), are confident their employees can identify phishing and BEC emails (42%) and that their employees report all emails they believe to be suspicious (39%).

Security investment

The majority (77%) of APAC IT decision-makers say they plan on investing in/spending money towards cybersecurity in 2022. Those who plan on investing in/spending money towards cybersecurity in 2022:

  • Are most likely to be investing in/spending money on new cybersecurity software solutions (48%).
  • Followed by a cybersecurity awareness training program with ongoing and relevant content (47%).

Other areas of investment include further investment in infrastructure (39%), employee policy changes related to cybersecurity (33%), cybersecurity insurance (35%) and simulated phishing and social engineering for end users (29%).

For more information on KnowBe4, visit www.knowbe4.com.

About the Research
This study was conducted online between the 2nd – 7th December 2021. The sample comprised of: 1,045 Australian office workers (any industry), 204 Australian IT decision makers (any industry), 1,012 Singaporean office workers (any industry) and 200 Singaporean IT decision makers (any industry). YouGov designed the questionnaire. Following the completion of interviewing, the office workers data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest population estimates in Australia and Singapore.

About KnowBe4
KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, is used by more than 47,000 organizations around the globe. Founded by IT and data security specialist, Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 helps organizations address the human element of security by raising awareness about ransomware, CEO fraud, and other social engineering tactics through a new-school approach to awareness training on security. Kevin Mitnick, an internationally recognized cybersecurity specialist and KnowBe4's Chief Hacking Officer, helped design the KnowBe4 training based on his well-documented social engineering tactics. Tens of thousands of organizations rely on KnowBe4 to mobilize their end users as their last line of defense.


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