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Smartphone Security
Survey of U.S. consumers
Sponsored by AVG Technologies
Independently conducted by Ponemon Institute LLC Publication Date: March 2011

Ponemon Institute© Research Report

Smartphone Security
Survey of U.S. Consumers
Ponemon Institute, March 2011

Part 1. Introduction Ponemon Institute is pleased to present the findings of the Smartphone Security Survey: A Study of U.S. Consumers sponsored by AVG Technologies. The goal of the research is to determine consumers’ perceptions about the potential privacy and security risks when using their smartphones. In addition, we wanted to learn if participants in our study care about these risks and if they take security precautions. We surveyed 734 consumers who are 18 years and older and own a smartphone. The risks that we address in our survey concern location tracking, transmission of confidential payment without the user’s knowledge or consent, diallerware (specialized malware unique to smartphones), spyware, viruses from insecure WiFi networks and others. What we learned is that most of the consumers in our study are using their smartphones without understanding that they are exposing their sensitive information to the risks listed above. We also believe the findings of this study signal a potential security risk for organizations because so many consumers surveyed use their smartphones for both business and personal use. With business confidential information stored on these smartphones, organizations should make sure employees and contractors take appropriate precautions to secure such sensitive information. We also recommend that security policies state these precautions and ensure they are enforced. Following are the most salient research highlights:  Eighty-four percent use the same smartphone for both business and personal purposes. The cross over of business and personal usage means much more sensitive and confidential data is at risk and suggests that the smartphone is with them most of the time. Sixty-six percent admit they keep a moderate or significant amount of personal data on their smartphones. Such personal data include email address, name, contact lists, photos, videos, anniversary and personal dates, music, Sixty-seven percent of consumers surveyed say they are concerned about receiving marketing ads and promotions. However, less than half (44 percent) are concerned about having a virus attack on their smartphone when it is connected to an insecure Internet network. In addition to using it as a phone, 89 percent use their smartphone for personal email and 82 percent use it for business email. A smaller percentage of consumers use their smartphones for financial transactions including payments. In fact, 38 percent of consumers use the smartphone to make payments and 14 percent use it for banking. Sixty-six percent of consumers have paid at least once for an item using their smartphone. In addition, 12 percent of consumers say they have experienced a fraud attempt vis-à-vis a mobile payment scheme. Despite this fact, only six percent say they check their mobile bill or statement every month and eight percent check the statement when the bill is higher than usual. Fifty-eight percent of consumers say that based on how they used the smartphone for purchases, Internet browsing and location they were targeted by marketers. Accordingly, 67 percent say they are very concerned or concerned about aggressive or abusive marketing practices.











Ponemon Institute© Research Report

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Despite security risks, less than half of consumers use keypad locks or passwords to secure their smartphones. In addition, only 29 percent of consumers said they have considered installing an anti-virus product to protect their smartphone. Forty-two percent of consumers who use social networking apps say they allow smartphone versions of well-known social networking applications such as Facebook to access the same key chains,...
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