A survey has been conducted for Kaspersky Lab by the Association of Independent Research Centres. 1,600 smartphone users were surveyed in Great Britain, France, Italy and Spain.
The survey examines the extent to which European smartphone users are aware of the current mobile malware threats and whether or not they consider smartphone protection a necessity.
Sensitive information is held on smartphones:
The results found that approximately one third of users from all the countries surveyed store credentials (such as PIN codes, passwords and user names) to access personal and corporate email on their devices - despite the fact that 20 per cent of all respondents have reported their smartphones lost or stolen.
Password protection for smartphones is least common among the British, where only 47 per cent of respondents use a password on their device.
Users not aware of mobile malware risks:
About one third of respondents use their smartphones to access online banking services, France (38 per cent), Spain (33 per cent), Italy (29 per cent) and Great Britain (28 per cent). As we know, protection for such services is of vital importance as they are associated with money transfers and other banking operations involving accounts and financial assets.
Unfortunately, users perceive the risk of their smartphones becoming infected with malicious software as small. Smartphones are the last thing on respondents’ minds in this respect – 50 per cent are unconcerned and only 27 per cent are highly concerned about the risk of malware infection.
Mobile AV is not widely considered:
As many as 52 per cent of smartphone users from all the countries surveyed are oblivious to the existence of antivirus software for mobile phones, and only 12 per cent are already using it. Another 12 per cent are planning to install an antivirus solution. Residents of southern Europe show more awareness of mobile protection software: 67 per cent of respondents from Italy and 53 per cent from Spain were aware, compared to only 36 per cent from Great Britain and 37 per cent from France.
The results of the research show that Europeans use smartphones for many different purposes, for example, for storing confidential information, including financial data and passwords. Owners are aware that the risk of losing their device is similar to the risk of losing other, non-digital valuables. At the same time, digital threats such as malware remain relatively unknown. Respondents are also not sufficiently informed about the existence of modern software that can provide them with comprehensive smartphone protection.
The current low level of threat awareness, coupled with the high value of information stored on smartphones and the growing number of malicious programs targeting mobile platforms, not to mention the possible loss or theft of a device, are key factors testifying to the urgent need to educate users on the comprehensive mobile protection solutions available.