Intel Security - Online Dieting Tips Gone Wrong



How do you lose belly fat? That was the question that most Singaporeans want answers to when it comes to healthier living. But the next time you click on a link to learn more, you could lose more than just a few pounds! 
In April 2016, Intel Security’s Security Diet Survey set out to understand what Singaporeans looked up online when it comes to the topic of dieting. The results reveal some interesting insights we can all relate to. Do any of them sound like you?
  • 54% of Singaporeans have clicked on a promotional link for dieting program/products/tips, with a further 39% saying they would click on such links
  • 23% of Singaporeans say they would most likely click on such a promotional link before their own wedding, while 21% say they would most likely click just before a holiday 
  • 64% of Singaporeans say they have clicked on such a promotional link offering to lose weight
But, does this sound like you too? The results also show that people do not place enough focus on security and trust, and sharing of information when it comes to such information online. Many Singaporeans do not know how to find out if a website is secure before providing important personal information such as their full name and email address. Some of the highlights in the survey include:
  • 1 out of 4 Singaporeans assume it’s a genuine site if they see such a promotional link
  • 46% of Singaporeans do not know how to check if a website is secure before providing payment details or information
  • 23% of Singaporeans have purchased a product or service from a promotional link before even knowing if it’s a secure site
Now, that’s not to say that every diet advertisement is hiding something malicious. There might be useful information behind some health ads, and many fitness websites are legitimate. What we need is to follow online security guidelines in this arena. With that in mind, here are some tips to ensure you browse diet and health content responsibly:
  • Click with caution. Offers from sites that seem too good to be true, such as “Lose 10 pounds in one week,” may indicate that a site should be viewed with caution. Websites or emails might include phishing links that can lead you to websites that lure you into giving personal information to cybercriminals or download malware to your computer.
  • Browse safely. Beware of phony websites. Sites aimed at scamming consumers may have an address very similar to a legitimate site, like “Wait Watchers” opposed to “Weight Watchers.” Phony sites often have misspellings, poor grammar or low-resolution images. If a site asks for personal information, double check the URL, and make sure it’s the site you intended to visit and not an imposter. Use a web reputation tool such as McAfee WebAdvisor that can help identify risky sites and inform you that you may be about to visit one.
  • Develop strong passwords. Do away with the “123321” password, and use a strong one, like “9&4yiw2pyqx#.” Regularly change passwords and don’t use the same passwords across all your accounts. As a way to improve the quality of your passwords, consider using a password manager.
  • Stay up to date. The best security software updates automatically to protect your computer. Use the manufacturer’s latest operating systems and allow security patches to be updated on an ongoing basis. Also ensure you have the appropriate software set to conduct routine scans.
  • Use a comprehensive security solution. Protecting all your devices with a comprehensive security solution, like McAfee LiveSafe, can help shield you from malware and other cyberattacks.
Losing weight should not be more painful than having to pass up on a delicious plate of steaming char kway teow. Let’s lose weight not just the safe and healthy way, but also the secure way.

Security Diet Survey – Singapore

Data Sheet

About this study
In April 2016 Intel Security conducted a study about Security Diet.
In multiple countries more than 15,000 people in the age of 21 to 54 participated in the study.
This factsheet reflects the answers of 1,200 people in Singapore.

Promotional links
54% of the people in Singapore between the age 21 and 54 have ever clicked on a promotional link (e.g. advert/advertisement) that offers a diet program/product/tips
o Young people within the age of 21 – 30 are more likely to click on a promotional link (55%) than older people within the age of 51 – 54 (40%)
Of those that have not, another 39% say they would click on such a promotional link
People say that the time that they would most likely click on a promotional link for a diet program/product/tips would be before your wedding (23%) or prior to a holiday (21%).
o Another 20% say that they would be most likely to click on such a link before a formal event
o 24% of the females would do so after a baby
44% says that they are more likely to click on a promotion link/dietary tip article featuring or endorsed by a celebrity.
Many say that they have ever clicked on a promotional link offering to lose weight (34%), or offering to get cashback (31%)
o 36% state that they have never clicked on such a link
Most people stay up to date on the latest in weight, health, and body issues through online research (41%), social media (41%), health blogs or websites (38%), or magazines (31%)

Promotional links that people are most likely to click on are
Lose that belly fat – 35%
Diets that work – 34%
Juice cleanse – 31%
10 best ways to lose 10 pounds – 28%
6-pack abs – 22%
No sugar diet – 20%
Before/after – how I lost 30 pounds in 30 days – 18%

Security & Trust
1 out of 4 of the people assume it’s a genuine site if they see such a promotional link
o 46% say they wouldn’t know whether the site was genuine
People are most likely to trust and click on a promotional link for diet program/product/tips when it’s on Facebook (51%),  Google search (42%),  on a website (30%), or within an email (23%)
The far majority of the people that click on such a link did consider that it could be spam/malware (86%)
23% has even purchased a service or product from a promotional link without knowing whether or not it’s a secure site

Sharing information
46% of the people do not know how to check if a website is secure before providing payment details or personal information
Many people are willing to share personal information like email address (58%), age (39%) and full name (35%) with a website/service/company in hopes of reaching their goal weight/dream body
Few would also share home address (7%), credit/debit card details (5%), or a photo in underwear/bathing suit (e.g. before/after shots) (2%)
86% of the people say that they have never shared more than a normal photo online or via text/email/chat apps (e.g. WhatsApp)
o 8% shared an image in underwear/bathing suit with head and 7% shared an image in underwear/bathing suit without their head
o 5% shared an image of their baked body without head, and 2% shared an image of their naked body with head


The research was conducted between April 8th  – April 21th, 2016 by MSI via an online questionnaire to 1,200 people in the Singapore, age 21-54.


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