Four In Ten Smartphone Users Fail To Take The Most Basic Security Measures

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A smart phone can contain a lot of information that its owner would rather keep private. But 39 percent of the more than 100 million American adult smart phone owners fail to take even minimal security measures such as using a screen lock backing up data or installing an app to locate a missing phone or remotely wipe its data according to Consumer Reports' Annual State of the Net survey.

At least 7.1 million smart phones were irreparably damaged, lost, or stolen and not recovered last year, Consumer Reports projects. Yet 69 percent of smart phone users hadn't backed up their data, including photos and contacts. Just 22 percent had installed software that could locate their lost phone.

"When you take your smart phone into your confidence, so to speak, you're also taking in a host of parties, including app developers, your wireless carrier and phone manufacturer, mobile advertisers, and the maker of your phone's operating system," said Jeff Fox , Technology Editor, Consumer Reports. "We recommend that all smart phone users take the basic precautions we outline in this report to ensure that their phones are secure from wireless threats."

The report revealed that though most smart-phone users haven't suffered serious losses because of their phone, there are wireless threats that merit concern. Among them: malicious software. Last year, 5.6 million smart-phone users experienced undesired behavior on their phones such as the sending of unauthorized text messages or the accessing of accounts without their permission, CR projects. Those symptoms are indicative of the presence of malicious software.

The location tracking feature that all smart phones have can also leave users vulnerable to wireless threats. One percent of smart phone users told Consumer Reports that they or a person in their household had been harassed or harmed after someone used such location tracking to pinpoint their phone. CR also projects that at least 5.1 million preteens use their own smart phones. In doing so, they may unwittingly disclose personal information or risk their safety.

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Tags: USA 

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