Surveys Show Smartphone Users Need More Mobile Security Education

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    How do you know that mobile security is a hot topic? By all of the surveys and studies that have been conducted. It seems like my inbox and Twitter feed has blown up with a number of mobile security survey results over just the past few days.

    A survey by Juniper Research found that more than 80 percent of smartphones aren’t protected from malware attacks. According to eSecurityPlanet:

    The report attributes the low level of adoption of security software to several factors, including a relatively low level of consumer awareness about mobile device vulnerabilities and a general perception that security software is too expensive.

    The findings also predict that by 2018, over 1 billion devices will have security installed, as opposed to the little more than 300 million today. Of course, in five years, how many more of us will be using mobile devices? A billion may be a conservative prediction.

    Kaspersky Lab released findings from its consumer survey, which revealed that 34 percent of consumers take no additional security measures when connecting to public Wi-Fi. If consumers aren’t worried about taking security precautions, that doesn’t bode well for BYOD and the security of enterprise networks.

    Perhaps among the more interesting of the surveys I’ve read about lately, though, was the one conducted by Zogby on behalf of PayPal and the National Cyber Security Alliance. The poll looked at more than just mobile security; it asked the 1,000 people surveyed what their opinions were on trends and concerns with mobile commerce, as well. According to the survey, we are a nation attached to our smartphones (no surprise there), and one out of six uses their phone to make at least a quarter of all their purchases.

    However, the Zogby poll echoed the others–despite all of the financial transactions and the personal information on the devices, security is lagging. Consumers, the survey showed, simply don’t understand basic security. However, surveyed users did indicate that smartphone users are willing to give biometric authentication a try.

    Taken as a whole, I think these surveys reiterate the importance of mobile-security education in the workplace. Why the workplace? These same consumers are employees who are likely connecting their devices to the corporate network. It is obvious they don’t understand some of the very basics of security, and they need to learn these techniques somewhere (I haven’t seen a smartphone that comes with a security manual). In the end, better security education helps everyone.

    Sue Poremba
    Sue Poremba
    Sue Poremba is freelance writer based on Central PA. She's been writing about cybersecurity and technology trends since 2008.

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