Restrictions imposed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of people to work and shop from their homes, so it is concerning that a new survey has found 40% of APAC consumers have reported breaches of their personal data by someone who did not have prior consent.

In addition, 39% of data breaches involved the illegal takeover of devices, while 31% had their personal data stolen or used illegally, and a fifth (20%) had their private data divulged publicly.

These are some of the key APAC findings from the Kaspersky Global Privacy Report 2020, which is based on a poll of around 15,000 consumers across 23 countries, including more than 3,000 in Asia-Pacific, between January and February this year.

As reported by ZDNet, international cyber security firm Kaspersky also found that more than half of APAC consumers harbour concerns about the safety of both their physical and online wellbeing.

And by having their data privacy compromised, 39% of APAC consumers felt inundated with spam and ads, a third (33%) felt stressed, about a quarter (24%) believed their personal reputation had been damaged, while another 19% said they had lost money, were bullied or ended up causing offence to others.

Also of concern is the finding that 16% said they have been blackmailed, 14% felt their careers had suffered, while 10% experienced damage to their romantic relationships, some even ending up in divorce.

Taken together, it is perhaps unsurprising that 20% accepted that they needed some help in learning how to protect their online privacy.

“It is welcome progress that [the] majority of consumers are now concerned about their online privacy, but their virtual habits and security know-how must undergo an overhaul,” said Stephan Neumeier, Kaspersky's managing director for Asia-Pacific.

“With the current remote working situation in the majority of the countries in Asia-Pacific, digital privacy should be a concern for both personal users and enterprises.”

Elsewhere, the same report found that more than 20% of respondents in APAC are willing to offer up their personal details in exchange for free products or services, while another 24% would be prepared to share their social media account details to participate in fun quizzes.

Sourced from Kaspersky, ZDNet; additional content by WARC staff