Number of the Week: 33% of Users Store Personal Correspondence on Poorly Protected Mobile Devices

21 May 2012
Virus News

Even though users store most of their data on personal computers, more and more people are transferring personal files to their smartphones and tablets. However, these devices tend to be significantly less well protected than PCs, putting that information at a greater risk of loss. This trend was picked up in a worldwide survey of almost 9,000 users conducted by Harris Interactive in March 2012.

According to the results of the survey, 33% of users exchange emails with friends and relatives using their mobile phone or tablet. At the same time, almost twice as many users (59%) use their computer for keeping in touch. Far fewer people currently use mobile devices for work-related correspondence: only one in five uses a mobile device to store business mail.

The survey of smartphone and tablet users demonstrates that such devices are generally much more vulnerable to cybercriminals than personal computers. 16% of tablet owners and 18% of mobile phone users have no protection at all for their data. More than a half of those surveyed use only basic safeguards such as passwords and PIN codes that offer no protection against infection or data interception.

Threats of this kind can be handled with the help of dedicated mobile applications. Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security, in addition to reliable protection against information theft via malware, also ensure data stays safe even if the device is lost or stolen. Unfortunately, this kind of sophisticated software is only used by 28% of smartphone owners and 44% of tablet owners. When it comes to traditional desktop or laptop computers, 85% of users have security software.

And it’s not just correspondence; other personal information can also be at risk. Passwords and account information are saved on mobile devices and tablets by 17% and 18% of users respectively. At the same time, most respondents (58%) consider the loss of this information one of the most serious threats.

Online services are less popular than local data storage. The survey shows that online data storage services are most often used to exchange personal (21%) and work-related (20%) documents as well as for storing multimedia data – photos, audio and video (20%). At the same time, 28% of respondents never use online data storage systems.

The full report on the survey by Harris Interactive for February-March 2012 is available at http://www.kaspersky.com/downloads/pdf/kaspersky_lab_consumer_survey_report_eng_final.pdf.

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