Following research that suggested mobile phone user are slow to recognise the threat posed to Smartphones, further details of the Ponemon institute’s study have been revealed that underline the reasons for the growing concern surrounding security.
734 users aged 18 or over were surveyed about typical mobile use, with the aim being to highlight the types of sensitive data that could subsequently be stored on a phone. The results show that a massive 89% now use a phone for sending personal emails, and 82% for business emails. 53% use a Smartphone for storing or moving data, 53% browse the internet, 44% are happy to shop via their phone and 40% engage in social networking.
The wide range of personal information stored on a phone therefore includes email addresses (97%), home address (40%), confidential business documents (37%), credit or debit card numbers (29%) and passwords (23%).
The apparent lack of care taken by modern users to protect the data stored on their Smartphone is highlighted by the fact that 67% cited marketing ads and promotions as a concern, compared to just 44% that were worried about a virus attack. This is tied to the fact that less than half of those surveyed used a basic keypad lock or password, and just 29% had considered security software.
These results show that users are clearly becoming more aware of the benefits of Smartphones, and more confident about using features such as online access, email and sharing of personal or company data. This doesn’t reflect awareness of potential threats and the importance of countering these with effective security and personal safeguards however, which suggests the mobile and security industry have a bit to do to educate users about modern risks.
In fact, less than 15% of those surveyed were aware of mobile-based threats such as jailbreaking, spyware, diallerware and specialised malware, though less than 11% claimed to have been a victim of such dangers. This suggests that most users are still taking a reactive approach, preferring to adopt safe practices only after their mobile has been compromised.
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