Data loss primary concern for smartphone users

AdaptiveMobile, provider of mobile security, has launched its second Global Security Insights in Mobile report, which examines consumers’ evolving perception of trust in mobile services and highlights a significant gap between users’ concerns about mobile security and their knowledge about how to stay protected.

The research, comprising 1,000 interviews with UK smartphone users in May 2011, highlights that whilst mobile operators are more trusted than many other service providers, this trust hinges on those operators ensuring they can safeguard subscribers’ personal data and protect them from financial loss. The findings also reveal the serious reputational and financial damage that operators risk if that trust is lost.

By far the biggest factor in building trust in a mobile operator is keeping personal details secure (73%), more important than service quality / reliability (55%) and accurate billing (43%). Users hold mobile network operators responsible for a variety of security issues including unexpected items on their bill (80%), SMS text phishing (69%), mobile spam (66%), malware & viruses (57%) and rogue applications (40%). Users are more concerned about the data and information stored on their phone (83%) and the possibility of identity theft (69%) than they are about the handset itself (48%). Users are leaving themselves exposed to mobile security risks – 50% would open an SMS text message from someone they don’t know, 36% would open an email on their mobile from someone they don’t know and 32% save log-in information such as passwords on their device. And two thirds (67%) of mobile users would like more information from their mobile network operator on how to protect themselves from mobile security threats.

“With mobile subscriptions hitting five billion and global smartphone penetration now at 20 per cent, cyber criminals are shifting their focus away from traditional PC-based scams towards the mobile world,” says Gareth Maclachlan, COO, AdaptiveMobile. “Whilst there is evidence that smartphones have reduced levels of customer churn, how operators now respond to the increasingly sophisticated security landscape to safeguard their subscribers’ data will determine whether their customer relationships can continue to be characterised by trust and loyalty.”

The findings of the second AdaptiveMobile Global Security Insights in Mobile report provide a stark warning to network operators and the wider mobile ecosystem that their position as trusted brands no longer rests simply with competitive pricing or the newest handsets. Mobile is no longer just about providing wireless phones and connectivity, as trusted service providers, customers look to operators to provide a host of value-added services and take it for granted that their devices are secure and their personal details are safeguarded.

Maclachlan concludes: “As trusted providers, customers are looking to their mobile operator to lead the way with mobile security, providing guidance and education as well as protecting their data and wallet. Mobile network operators can either rise to the occasion and be seen as industry leaders in mobile security or wait for others to lead the way and risk jeopardising not only their customers’ personal data but also their trust and custom.”

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