Smartphone Owners Concerned About Mobile Security but Lack Education: Survey

A
survey of smartphone-owning consumers conducted in December 2011 by NQ Mobile,
a provider of consumer-centric mobile security and productivity applications,
and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a nonprofit public-private
partnership focused on cyber-security awareness and education, indicates that
while almost three-fourths of American consumers are aware of—and concerned
about—security threats to their smartphones, they aren’t always taking active
measures to protect their mobile lives.

When
it comes to specific security threats, every potential threat evoked concern,
but 78 percent of smartphone users are particularly concerned about their lost
or stolen phone falling into the wrong hands and its contents being misused.
Users were most concerned about losing their password data (67 percent
concerned), but would be most willing to add security to protect the banking
and other financial data on their phone. Users are least willing to add
security to protect their photos and videos.

Almost
all phone users (95 percent) said they believe that at least one entity can
track their location while their phone is on, though which entities users
believe can do this varies widely. A strong majority (87 percent) believe that
carriers can track their location when their phone is on, followed by hackers
(57 percent) and legitimate apps (54 percent). Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of
respondents believe that data aggregators can track their location.

People
are especially concerned about the personal information they keep on their
phones, with nine out of 10 aware that smartphones contain personal
information, and 81 percent concerned about that fact. Interestingly, men tend
to be more aware of the security threats and issues related to owning a
smartphone, but women tend to be more concerned about threats and privacy
issues.

On
the emerging issue of location data tracking, users are about evenly split on
being concerned about protecting the privacy of their location when using their
phones. Half report that they know how to turn off or set permissions for
location tracking, though just 38 percent know how to disable geotagging, which
is the storage of location-based data, in the form of Latitude and Longitude
inside of images.

While
70 percent of smartphone users said they had some type of security or security
software on their phone, just half of smartphone users actually could identify
what type of security they have. More than half (58 percent) of smartphone
users report they don’t know enough about mobile security to decide whether
they need it or not, and a majority of those who do not have any security
features/software on their smartphones don’t have them because of a lack of
awareness or complacency—and this is not surprising, given that just 7 percent of
smartphone users were offered information about the need for security for their
phone at the time of purchase.

"It’s
clear that smartphone users take protecting their data and privacy seriously,
but they don’t feel they know enough about how to keep their mobile devices
safe," said NQ Mobile co-CEO Omar Khan. "As the leader in helping
people secure their mobile lives, NQ Mobile believes there is an obligation for
the entire mobile industry to ensure that consumers understand that real
threats exist and how they can protect their personal information and
privacy."

RELATED ARTICLES

Must Read