A recent survey by app security specialist Promon has revealed that mobile users are massively unaware of cyberthreats, with an overwhelming 89 per cent of respondents admitting they wouldn’t know if their device has been infected through a cyber attack. Users’ lack of awareness of mobile threats presents a significant challenge for businesses across every sector, meaning companies need to take extra steps to secure their customers’ data, says Promon.
Avoiding accessing important information via publicly shared Wi-Fi connections was believed to be enough to protect their mobile devices from cyberattacks by 41 per cent of respondents, while 27 per cent rely on security apps. However, 22 per cent of survey respondents admitted that they did not take any steps to protect their mobile devices against cyber threats, which underlines the scale of the issue.
Lars Lunde Birkeland, Head of Communication at Promon, said: “This study has shown once again that consumers need to be educated about the growing mobile threat, but much more importantly, that businesses need to have a proactive approach and focus on safeguarding their customers’ sensitive data and systems.”
The study shows that passwords remain the most popular security measure, with 43 per cent of respondents relying on them to protect their smartphones from cyber attacks. This is despite numerous recent cases of password hacking, including accounts on Dropbox, Last.FM and Netflix, and repeated calls from industry leaders to update security measures.
In addition, a recent Symantec report found that the number of new mobile vulnerabilities increased last year by 214 per cent compared to 2014.
“This highlights the urgent nature of the problem. With the number of mobile vulnerabilities on the rise and users so unaware of the dangers, businesses are caught in the middle of the battlefield, and it is their own reputations that are at stake,” said Birkeland.
The same survey revealed that almost half of the respondents, 41 per cent, believe that banks are in charge of their mobile banking apps’ security. It also showed that 64 per cent of respondents do not believe they are responsible for the security of their mobile banking apps. According to Birkeland, this is a key indicator of the need for businesses to take steps to defend their own apps, rather than relying on the safe browsing habits of their users.
Birkeland concluded: “It is paramount for businesses to take responsibility for securing their own data now, with the increased likelihood of mobile cyber attacks and users’ lack of awareness of how to combat these threats. It is impossible for banks and businesses to teach their customers how to behave safely overnight.
“Businesses, and especially banks, are trusted by their customers to handle sensitive data, and mobile app users rely on them, but with great power comes great liability. By making your own apps easier to defend, organisations stand the best possible chance of avoiding a major cybersecurity crisis.”