Number of the Week: 55% of Mobile Devices Using Unprotected Wi-Fi Networks
14 May 2012
The data on most mobile devices could easily fall into the hands of cybercriminals. That’s the alarming conclusion reached by Kaspersky Lab experts based on research carried out by Harris Interactive in February-March 2012. In order to understand customer attitudes towards modern technologies and security threats, the company surveyed almost 9,000 consumers from the USA, Europe and Russia.
The survey has shown that about 70% of tablet owners and 53% of mobile phone users use free public Wi-Fi hotspots to go online. This is one of the most popular ways to access the Internet, along with cellular networks, which are used by 58% of those surveyed for data communication.
But it seems that many users are unaware of the dangers of free Wi-Fi networks, especially the fact that data transferred across the link can easily be intercepted by cybercriminals. That could well include login data for online banking systems. This is particularly alarming given that interception of sensitive financial data is the biggest source of concern for about 60% of users. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that mobile devices are generally less protected from unauthorized access than desktop or laptop computers.
The survey also reveals that security solutions are installed on less that half of all tablets and barely a quarter of mobile phones/smartphones (28%). At the same time, 82% of users have antivirus software installed on their home PCs and laptops. This happens even though there are mobile applications such as Kaspersky Mobile Security on the market already designed for protection of both the device itself and the information stored on it.
Surprisingly, although tablets are designed to be mobile, they are most often used to access the Internet from home (49% of users) or office (39%). Work networks usually have a better level of protection and use an encryption protocol to ensure security of the data transferred. However, this doesn’t mean other security measures to protect mobile devices can be neglected.
The full report on the survey by Harris Interactive for February-March 2012 is available following this link: http://www.kaspersky.com/downloads/pdf/kaspersky_lab_consumer_survey_report_eng_final.pdf