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62% of Americans Worry about Smartphone Hacking; 53% Don’t Secure Their Phones

62% of Americans Worry about Smartphone Hacking; 53% Don’t Secure Their Phones

Smartphone hacking and identity theft are the two crimes Americans are most likely to worry about. Read on for more surprising data security statistics.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014/Categories: cyber-security

According to a new Gallup poll, cyber crime is now the crime that most Americans worry about it. The new survey shows these startling numbers:

  • 69 percent of Americans worry about having their credit card information stolen from stores.
  • 62 percent worry about having their computer or mobile device hacked.

What's astonishing about these numbers is that these two cyber crimes are the most common crime people worry about. The next closest crime is burglary, and only 45 percent report being frequently worried about it. As it turns out, data breaches and cyber crimes are the only crimes that a majority of Americans are concerned about.

Consumers Concerned But Not Proactive about Data Security

While a majority of Americans are concerned with identity theft, cyber attacks, and data breaches, very few take an active approach to securing their data.

As MSNBC reports, only 47 percent of consumers use a PIN or password to lock their phones, which means an astonishing 53 percent of smartphones aren't secure.

This data security discrepancy shouldn't surprise many IT consultants. You're used to talking with clients who want more security, but don't follow basic data security protocol (like having secure passwords). The same holds true for individual users. In fact, many websites are seriously doubtful that two-factor authentication can improve security. They assume users are too lazy to go through a second layer of authentication.

Why You Need to Be Worried about Mobile Security

IT consultants should be worried about all areas of data security, but research suggests that consumers vastly underestimate their mobile security risks. According to a Consumer Reports survey

  • Mobile device theft almost doubled over one year, increasing from 1.6 to 3 million stolen devices in 2013.
  • Only 7 percent of devices used additional encryption settings, and only 8 percent have software that will remotely wipe data from a lost device.

Two trends are clear: mobile theft is increasing, but consumers aren't responding to the increased risks. And it's not just physical theft that consumers should be concerned about.

Malware rates have skyrocketed for mobile devices. In 2012, the amount of malware apps for Android increased by 600 percent. In recent months, Apple has seen new threats that have found ingenious ways past its device security.

As we reported in the post, "iOS Malware Accesses Devices through Third-Party App Stores," the new WireLurker malware exploits USB security flaws to attack iPhone and mobile Apple devices when they are plugged into a computer. This malware is notable for being the first to install trojaned apps on iOS devices.

A Last Word on Mobile Security: How to Reduce Cyber Risks

As you review a client's mobile security management and BYOD workplace protocol, make sure you emphasize the following basic areas of device security:

  • Mandate encryption on client devices.
  • Have security software that will wipe mobile devices if lost / stolen.
  • Make sure iCloud or other cloud-based backup platforms are secure and use 2-FA to keep out hackers.
  • Remind clients that device theft can lead to a data breach.

As you teach clients the basic tenets of device security, feel free to use TechInsurance's Customer Education Packet. The guide, which is 100 percent free, is written with the small-business owner in mind. Your clients can use its data security checklists and read its FAQs to learn the basics of cyber risk management and identity theft prevention.

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