Many Smartphone Owners Fail to Take Basic Security Measures

May 7, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Mobile Phone | Privacy & Security

ConsumerReports-Smartphone-Owners-Security-Measures-May2013Mobile phone owners are reluctant to share data over privacy fears, and a majority wouldn’t even lend their phone to a work colleague, according to research from McAfee. But despite these privacy concerns, many smartphone owners are not employing a range of security measures to safeguard themselves against privacy breaches. A new study from Consumer Reports finds that only 22% of smartphone users have installed an application to locate a missing phone, just 15% have installed antivirus apps, and less than 1 in 10 have an app that can delete the contents of their phone remotely.

Despite the researchers projecting that at least 7.1 million smartphones were irreparably damaged, lost or stolen and never recovered, the majority of smartphone owners surveyed aren’t protecting their data in the event that such a loss occurs. For example, 64% of respondents don’t use a screen lock, and only 8% employ other protective measures beyond a screen lock, such as encryption.

And while smartphone owners are storing personal data such as photos, location information and financial information, only 31% back up their phone’s data.

Overall, fully 4 in 10 respondents say they aren’t using any of the protective measures outlined above. That’s despite recent research [pdf] from McAfee showing increasing security threats to mobile devices, with up to 1 in 6 app downloads potentially being risky. A more recent study from NQ Mobile [pdf] details a huge increase in mobile malware discoveries in the past year. About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 1,656 smartphone users.

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