App users in developing APAC prefer convenience over security

By Kimberly Chua

Mobile app users in developing Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries prefer convenience over security, signaling a potential rift between companies and users, a new F5 Networks study has found.

The study revealed that while mobile app adoption in developing APAC countries is growing, only 50% of consumers in India, Indonesia and the Philippines had regard for the security of their applications. In contrast, over 60% of consumers in developed countries such as Singapore and Australia prioritised security over convenience.

Kuna Nallappan, F5 Network’s vice-president of marketing in APAC and Japan, attributed the reticence towards security in developing APAC countries to the higher number of millennials in those places.

“Countries like the Philippines and Indonesia have similar demographics – a large concentration of millennials who are used to instant gratification,” said Nallappan, adding that users in those countries often download applications without much thought.

He elaborated further that millennials took security more lightly than older generations as they were more comfortable with technology, being born in the digital age.

Other than having a high population of millennials, an absence of law enforcement in developing countries also resulted in a lack of awareness on cyber security, said Nallappan.

“The notion of privacy in these countries is still nascent and privacy laws are still at the development stage with ongoing debates,” he added.

Nallappan said that governments play a critical role in establishing a strong data protection regime.

An example was the introduction of Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) which established data protection guidelines that enterprises such as DBS have since integrated into their business processes, Nallappan said.

The study also indicated that seven out of 10 Singaporean respondents will stop using or delete mobile applications that are found to be hacked.

Noting contrasting attitudes towards convenience and security among users across the APAC region, Nallappan said enterprises can grant users access to application functions based on who they are, thus improving cyber security without bringing about inconvenience.

Biometric checks like fingerprint and facial recognition are other examples that enterprises can include in their applications to verify user information without disrupting user experience, he added.

Kimberly Chua is an APAC intern at Computer Weekly.

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