Smartphone Security: Alarming Complacency Among Mobile Users - Slide 5

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In addition to using it as a phone, 89 percent use their smartphone for personal email and 82 percent use it for business email. A smaller percentage of consumers use their smartphones for financial transactions including payments. In fact, 38 percent of consumers use the smartphone to make payments and 14 percent use it for banking.

The Ponemon Institute recently released findings of the Smartphone Security Survey: A Study of U.S. Consumers sponsored by AVG Technologies. The goal of the research was to determine consumers’ perceptions about the potential privacy and security risks when using their smartphones. In addition, they wanted to learn if participants in the study cared about these risks and if they take security precautions. They surveyed 734 consumers who were 18 years and older and own a smartphone.

The risks that were addressed in the survey concerned location tracking, transmission of confidential payment without the user’s knowledge or consent, dialerware (specialized malware unique to smartphones), spyware, viruses from insecure Wi-Fi networks and others. The study found that most consumers were using their smartphones without understanding they were exposing their sensitive information to the risks listed above.

The findings of this study also signal a potential security risk for organizations because many of the consumers surveyed use their smartphones for both business and personal use. With business confidential information stored on these smartphones, organizations should make sure employees and contractors take appropriate precautions to secure such sensitive information. They also recommend that security policies state these precautions and ensure they are enforced.

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