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Norton Study: Many Mobile Devices in Europe are Unlocked and Unprotected

1 in 4 in the UK have had their phone stolen or lost; 7% have fallen victim to mobile cybercrime

LONDON, UK. April 4th, 2013 – Norton by Symantec today released new insights into UK consumers’ mobile use and behaviours1, revealing that adults value their mobile devices more than ever, yet few are taking some of the necessary precautions to keep their devices and content safe and secure.   

According to the report, Brits are now living various aspects of their work, social and online lives through their mobile devices.  From surfing online to downloading apps, shopping and making payments from their mobile device, Norton found that more than a third (39%) of UK mobile users stated that they could never give up their mobile device, and close to a quarter (23%) of adults even indicated that it would be one of the top two personal items they would save if their house was on fire.  

“People are relying more and more on their mobile devices to navigate, share, socialize and shop in today’s constantly-connected world,” said Richard Clooke at Norton by Symantec. “What many consumers may not realise is exactly how much of their personal and private information is up for grabs should these devices be compromised, lost or stolen.  Considering the sensitive nature of data that is accessible from personal mobile devices, consumers need to take some basic, yet easy, precautions to protect it from falling into the wrong hands.”

Mobile Devices: A Wealth of Personal and Sensitive Information
As people expand their online lives through mobile devices, many are not taking steps to secure their device and the content it contains. While a large majority (63%) of mobile users indicated they store and access sensitive information on their mobile devices, almost a half (46%) admitted to not using a password to help protect their personal data. In the event of theft or loss, a treasure trove of personal information stored on the device can potentially be accessed including personal emails, a potential gateway to other sensitive information such as work correspondence and documents, passwords for other online accounts, and bank statements.

The study also reveals that losing a mobile device is common, costly and stressful for consumers. 1 in 4 adults have had a mobile device lost or stolen, costing individuals an average of £73 for the replacement or temporary use of a mobile phone, and double (£152) to replace a tablet.2 When their mobile phone goes missing, UK consumers indicate that they are particularly worried about incurring costly bills due to telephone calls (39%), having those in their address book contacted (27%), or having purchases made through their lost or stolen phones (25%).

The Norton study also reveals some surprising differences between European countries in regards to their attitudes toward mobile activities and the information they are willing to access or store on their device:

  • Only 13% of Germans and 15% of Russians indicated that they feel safe when making purchases from their mobile device, whereas a higher number of Polish (32%) and Italian mobile users (24%) revealed that they feel safe when making purchases from their device
  • The Danish are more likely to store bank account information on their mobile device (13%) than their Germans counterparts (4%)

“Risky Business” on Mobile Devices and Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks
The British consumer is falling short when it comes to adequately securing their mobile device: Over a third (37%) of mobile device users admit to not always downloading applications from trustworthy sources, and 28% indicated that they do not use secure payment methods when making purchases from their mobile device, leaving their sensitive information such as credit card details vulnerable. In fact, according to the survey, 7% of UK mobile users have already fallen victim to mobile cybercrime3

However, this type of reckless behaviour is not limited to smartphones and tablets. Most adults use free or unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots, and half of them are concerned about the potential risks of using free or unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots, but yet still go ahead: 34% use free public Wi-Fi spots to check their personal emails and 16% of respondents said they access their bank details online through free, unsecured Wi-Fi connections, exposing their sensitive financial details to mobile sniffers.

“Consumers know how important it is to protect their computer from the wide range of threats they can encounter when online and off,” said Richard Clooke. “Yet, precautions also need to be taken to secure Internet-connected mobile devices that are just as vulnerable to cybercriminals looking to make some quick cash or to steal personal information. In the case of theft or loss, your data is in someone else’s hands. By installing mobile security software which protects against malicious online threats and enables you to lock, locate and wipe your device remotely, you can secure your personal life from potential intruders.”

For more European Mobile Insights from the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report please visit: www.norton.com/uk/2013europeanmobileinsights

Visit mobilesecurity.com for additional insights from Norton mobile security experts, including articles, videos, widgets and infographics shedding light on timely mobile topics. 

About Norton
Norton protects the Stuff that matters to consumers, across all aspects of their digital lives. Norton provides a range of security solutions including technologies for PCs and mobile devices, live tech support services and online backup. Like Norton on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/norton.  Follow Norton on Twitter @Norton_UK

About Symantec
Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organisations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com

Norton Cybercrime Report Methodology
Between July 16th, 2012 and July 30th, 2012, StrategyOne conducted online interviews with 13,000 adults, aged 18 to 64 from 24 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA).  The margin of error for the total sample of adults (n=13018) is 0.9% at the 95% level of confidence. 1000 adult respondents were interviewed in each of USA and India, 500 in other countries. The global data has been weighted to ensure all countries have equal representation of n500 adults. 

The European data presented is based upon data collected in the following countries: UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Russia. The total sample for Europe is 4,500.  The margin of error for Europe is +/- 1.46% at the 95% level of confidence. 500 adult respondents were interviewed in each of the European countries.

Emma Jeffs
Norton by Symantec
0118 943 7507

Luke Smart
Edelman Public Relations
020 3047 2407

12012 Norton Cybercrime Report, European Mobile Insights : www.norton.com/uk/2013europeanmobileinsights

2Self-reported total financial loss (average) due to losing or having a mobile device (cell/mobile phone or tablet) stolen, including the cost of a replacement or temporary use of another mobile device (cell/mobile phone or tablet).

3 Symantec Corporation, 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, September 2012: http://www.norton.com/2012cybercrimereport: “Mobile cybercrime” is defined as follows: responding to an unsolicited SMS text message which captured personal details; phone was infected and sent a text message without the user’s permission or knowledge which he/she later had to pay for; another type of cybercrime on a cell / mobile phone / tablet device.