56% of Malaysians have been exposed to some form of online risk

Online RIsk

Microsoft released its 2nd Annual Digital Civility Index (DCI) in conjunction with Safer Internet Day. The DCI is a survey that examines people’s attitudes and perceptions about online behaviour and interactions. The survey is conducted in 23 countries around the world and has included Malaysia this year.

The results of the survey are based on interviews with teens ages 13-17 and adults ages 18-74 who were asked about their experiences and encounters with 20 different online risks. These online risks are then categorized within four umbrellas; behavioral risk such as online harassment, intrusive risk such as unwanted contact, sexual risk such as unwanted sexting and reputational risk such as doxxing.


Based on the DCI survey, 56% of the Malaysian population have been exposed to or encountered some form of online risk and 66% stated that they have had family members of friends experience an online risk. The following are the top 5 risks that Malaysians have been exposed too based on the DCI study:

  1. 30% of Malaysians have experienced unwanted sexting (received or sent)
  2. 28% of Malaysians have been exposed to online harassment
  3. 22% of Malaysians have experienced trolling
  4. 20% of Malaysians have been exposed to a hoax, scam and/or a fraud
  5. 18% of Malaysians have experienced unwanted contact

According to the survey, teenagers are the most exposed to online risks. They are the least likely to pause before replying to something they disagree with and are the most likely to stand up for someone else alongside millennials (aged 18-34). As a result, teenagers are they most exposed to the consequences of online risks and are more likely than adults to become depressed or stressed. Malaysians who have experienced harassment online often become lest trusting of people online (49%) and offline (33%). These consequences were higher for females and teens than males and adults.

The next question was “who is responsible for these online risks?”. Many of these perpetrators have been named as people that the target knew. 29% of Malaysians state that they know the perpetrator personally as a family member, friend or acquaintance. The survey also shows that familiarity with a perpetrator in real life also carries with is adverse consequences. 48% of Malaysians who have met their perpetrator in real life, have lost sleep as a result and are also twice as likely to become depressed.

On the bright side, most Malaysian have reported that they treat other people with respect and dignity. Malaysians were less likely to stand up for themselves or others before replying to something they disagreed with compared with the global averages. Millennials have also been identified as having the highest civil behaviour as defined by the Microsoft Digital Civility Challenge announced in 2017.

Microsoft is proud to have taken the initiative on the realm of cyber safety and security. It goes hand in hand with Microsoft’s mission to empower every person on the planet to achieve more and in this case, to create awareness for internet users around the globe about the importance of being civil online. It is hoped that by using the data provided in the DCI, internet users will be more united and begin playing a part in creating a better internet for everyone, in particular the youngest users out there.