JOHOR BARU: It is high time the government introduced a digital ID for all Malaysians as part of the effort to combat the rising cases of online scams and personal data breaches, says a consumer group.
This comes as a cybersecurity report stated that over 660,000 Malaysian accounts had been compromised between April and June of this year.
Malaysia Cyber Consumer Association chairman Datuk Ahmad Noordin Ismail said such a digital ID would act as identification for users surfing the web and would also be in line with the country’s digitalisation agenda.
“Hackers usually sell stolen personal data to scammers, who would then try to target banking institutions by stealing the victims’ money.
“So, one way financial institutions can combat this is by going back to the traditional way of meeting face-to-face with their clients instead of just asking for personal information on the phone.
“The other way is for the government to introduce a digital ID for all Malaysians so that each time they surf the web, they would have to log in using their biometric information such as the thumbprint, iris and face, which scammers cannot steal,” he said in an interview.
The financial institutions, he added, could also let the customers be the final decision makers for any transaction via the use of a password generator app on their customers’ phones.
“There has been recent news that hackers have found a way to get the one-time password from their victims’ SIM cards by sending malware to their phones.
“But by making the customers provide a specially generated key for each transaction, we can eradicate these types of scams,” he explained.
Users, he said, were also encouraged to set a 16-character password on their social accounts so that they wouldn’t be easy to hack.
“A 16-character password would take about six months to hack. One of the most common mistakes that we make is using a common password.
“To better protect ourselves, we can change one of the 16-characters every six months,” he said, adding that avoiding any unknown email would also help protect an individual or a system in a company.
He was commenting on a report in The Star regarding the over 660,000 Malaysian accounts that had been compromised between April and June of this year, an increase of 733% from the previous quarter.
The latest report from a Netherlands-based cybersecurity company and VPN provider, Surfshark, ranks Malaysia eleventh compared to the rest of the world.
Russia was at the top of the list with a staggering 28 million compromised accounts, followed by India (4.4 million), China (3.4 million), Brazil (3.2 million), the United States (2.3 million), and South Korea (1.8 million).
The report also noted that the total number of breached accounts had globally increased by 2% from the last quarter.