Innovation in mobile technology – more powerful computing on devices and faster wireless networks – have caused consumers to become more comfortable completing certain tasks on their smartphones and tablets. However, a lack of data security measures is leaving mobile users vulnerable to cyber attack.
According to a new report from mobile security firm BullGuard, 24 percent of mobile users conduct online banking business through their device, but many do so without proper protection in place. Alarmingly, 53 percent of mobile users polled by the firm said they were unaware of the existence of mobile data security solutions, while another 21 percent felt such software is unnecessary.
Fifty-three percent of respondents said their devices aren't password protected.
"It appears as though modern mobile users are quick to appreciate the convenience and easy access to services offered from handhelds, but are slow to recognize the potential threat to smartphones in a time when mobile malware on some platforms has risen by up to 400 percent in the past six months," BullGuard security expert Claus Villumsen, mobile security expert with BullGuard, said.
The lack of such measures is even more concerning considering how careless users are with their devices. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said their device had either been lost or stolen in the past, and 55 percent said they didn't know a mobile device could be infected with a virus.
"It is concerning that mobile users are storing such sensitive data, but even more concerning is that our survey revealed many consumers seem apathetic about the potential dangers of mobile use at present, ignoring even the most basic security measures," Villumsen added.
Google's Android mobile operating system has proven to be a prime target for cyber criminals and their attacks. Researchers with Lookout Mobile Security recently announced the discovery of a malicious app that bypasses the Android Market and signs up unsuspecting users for premium-rate SMS services.