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For
the first time in history, data security is more important to U.S. cell phone
users than call quality, according to a report from AdaptiveMobile. Sixty-eight
percent of those surveyed cited keeping information secure as the most
important carrier function, versus 52 percent for service quality and
reliability. The survey also found that respondents are aware of mobile
threats, with 52 percent of subscribers experiencing a mobile threat over the
past year.

For
example, one in three U.S. smartphone users reported receiving mobile spam, and
one in seven indicated that they were exposed to SMS text phishing. Even with
these high rates of exposure, only a small number of subscribers use security
software (23 percent), and three-quarters of these use the software only
because it is free. “The subscribers take it for granted that their personal
and financial data is protected by the carrier, leaving the carrier as the
first line of defense in a smartphone environment that is growing more open,
complex, dynamic and crowded each day,” the report warned.

The
survey suggested smartphone subscribers are more concerned about the data and
information stored on their phone (86 percent) or the possibility of identity
theft (69 percent) than they are about the handset itself (45 percent). In
addition, more than half of subscribers (52 percent) have experienced at least
one security incident in the last 12 months, the most common being spam,
received by more than one in three subscribers (37 percent).  One in seven
(16 percent) has seen unexpected items on their mobile bill, and a similar
number (15 percent) have been exposed to SMS text phishing.

One
in three subscribers (34 percent) would open an SMS text message and 28 percent
would open an email message from someone they don’t know on their mobile, the
survey found. Furthermore, 40 percent would save log-in information such as
passwords to their mobile, and more than three quarters (77 percent) download
apps to their phone. Six percent of U.S. users report having been infected with
a mobile virus in the last 12 months, well over the actual rates of under 1 percent.

“The
US carrier market currently has more loyalty and trust from its customer base
than almost any other industry, and this survey underscores the importance of
maintaining this customer confidence, especially around mobile security,” said
Brian Collins, CEO of AdaptiveMobile. “Subscribers view the carrier as the
safety net in this increasingly complex mobile environment, and U.S. carriers
have a great opportunity to take steps to cement this trust. Those carriers
that fail to see this as an opportunity to differentiate will risk losing
customers, as the respondents made it clear, they will leave if their data is
compromised.”