Mobile Phone Users Lack Security Awareness

by CXOtoday Staff    Mar 02, 2009

F-Secure’s annual Online Wellbeing global survey showed that, on average, 55% of respondents felt the individual user is responsible for the security on their mobile phones; 30% thought the carrier was responsible and 15% felt that the mobile phone manufacturers should be held responsible.

Overall, the study showed that mobile phone users still do not take high enough precautions themselves, but rely on a third party.

While 64% and 62% of respondents from the United States and Canada, respectively admitted to not having security software on their mobile phones, 70% of people surveyed in both regions do not actually access the Internet from their handsets. Only 24% agreed that their mobile phones were secured from malware, which shows that a large majority of people in the United States are unaware of the security risks caused by mobile phones.

Hong Kong and India clearly stood out, showing that 70% of surveyed people do access the Internet from a mobile phone. In India, 46% claim they have security software installed on their mobile phones and 58% feel responsible for the security of their mobile phone versus the carriers (22%) or the mobile phone manufacturers (20%). In Hong Kong, 26% feel responsible for security.

Samu Konttinen, VP for F-Secure’s mobile business unit, said, "The results go to show that people don’t necessarily understand the security issues related to their mobile phones. Smartphones today are more and more like small PCs and contain the same type of personal or work-related information. For this reason, it is increasingly important to safeguard smartphones and their content against loss."
The research found that while 30% of the public thinks their mobile phones are at risk from malware, people are not taking action to protect themselves from the mobile security threats. Across all the countries questioned, only 17% of respondents said they had security software installed on their mobile phones.
Over half of respondents were not sure whether they are safe using WiFi to access the Internet on their mobile phones. Almost a third think they are unsafe and only 7% are very sure that their Bluetooth connection is secure.

While mobile phones are becoming more and more sophisticated, allowing Internet surfing, file and picture transferring, alongside many other day-to-day applications, most Europeans do not have access to the Internet from their mobile phones or do not use their handset for such purposes.

In the UK, 44% of the respondents confirmed that they had access to the Internet from their mobile phone, but only 16% of them claim to have security installed on their mobile phone.

The F-Secure Online Wellbeing survey was conducted in December 2008 in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the United States, Canada, India and Hong Kong.


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