A study released Wednesday by the National Cyber Security Alliance and McAfee revealed a false sense of cyber security for mobile users.
The survey, conducted by Zogby International, found that 72% of Americans have never installed data protection applications or security software on their smartphones in order to protect against data loss or against viruses and malware.
The lack of security doesn’t slow smartphone use, the study found. In fact, 44% use their smartphones to access the Internet and 75% say they access the Internet more frequently on their device today than they did one year ago.
The NCSA/McAfee research also found that 70% of smartphone owners say they feel their device is safe from hackers, malware and other types of cybercrime. This data shows that taking extra precautions to protect smart phones from virus attacks and other threats is not common practice for U.S. consumers as most feel their devices are safe enough.
Along with the uptick in mobile Internet use, the NCSA/McAfee survey also found that more applications are being developed and downloaded to meet the variety of user interests and needs. In the last six months, the applications most smartphone owners say they have added to their phones are games (46%), followed by social networking apps (37%).
Smartphone users are pretty well split as to whether they have ever abandoned downloading an app over security or safety concerns (50% to 45%). Of those who have decided not to download an app over a security or safety concern, most said they did so because they were unsure of what data about themselves was being collected and how it would be used (71%)
“This study highlights the need to focus on the security of our mobile devices and networks as mobile technologies are adopted by an ever-increasing amount of the population and becoming a central part of our lives,” said John Thode, executive VP consumer, mobile and small business, McAfee.