Data security a major trust issue for mobile users

Now the US results from a Global Security Insights Report are in, I have taken the opportunity to compare some of the key findings between US and UK smartphone users.

Overall, the reports have concluded that despite personal data being valued higher by users than actual devices, users were still in danger of putting their data at risk with simply just one click. Specifically, one in two UK users would open an SMS text message from someone they didn’t know – compared to 34 per cent of US users.

When questioned regarding the level of protection mobile operators should provide, both UK and US respondents stated that they expected to be shielded from a wide range of threats including SMS text phishing, mobile spam, malware, viruses and rogue applications.

The results found 81 per cent of UK users (85 per cent in the US) thought that they would consider moving operators if their handset was ever infected with malware or a virus.

After looking through the results it is clear that there is some confusion for both UK and US smartphone subscribers about the levels of protection they are receiving from their mobile operators, and they are unaware of the security risks they are faced with.

The lack of awareness by users on both sides of the Atlantic means that personal data is often being put at risk. This is a fact not ignored by the cyber criminal fraternity which has firmly set its sights on the lucrative market of five billion mobile subscribers and approximately one billion smartphones.

Currently trust in mobile network operators is relatively high but with the increased price and the length of contracts (some up to 24 months now) consumers expect a high level of service from their operator.

When you take into account that nine out of ten subscribers (in both the US and UK) said that they would consider changing providers if they felt their data was not safe – operators need to ensure they do everything they can to protect and educate users.

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Prior to founding AdaptiveMobile in 2003, Gareth Maclachlan was Wireless Investment Director at global VC firm ETF Group, and Principal Consultant at PWC, responsible for the UK e-business practice. Gareth led projects with the UK Home Office, National Criminal Intelligence Service, Interpol and other UK and European security bodies to assess and respond to the emerging national threats from the Internet. Gareth has also been a board member for mobile marketing companies, and was involved in a joint venture with Kirch Gruppe on mobile entertainment.