Survey shows concern about mobile device security

The results of a survey by Harris Interactive found that nearly two thirds of mobile device owners are concerned about the security of their devices. The survey, which polled 1,812 U.S. adults who own mobile devices, shows that security concerns are preventing many users from adopting new mobile services for financial transactions and shopping. Meanwhile, mobile spam was also shown to be impacting a significant portion of mobile device owners.

Although new applications and services are rapidly emerging for mobile devices, survey results showed that users’ perception of security is proving to be a significant barrier to their adoption, especially for mobile financial transactions. Noteworthy findings include:

  • 65 percent of all mobile device owners expressed concerns about the security of their device.
  • Nearly half (46 percent) of these concerned device owners said that their worries about security prevented them from conducting activities on their mobile device.
  • Of the activities mobile device owners said they were prevented from doing because of their concerns, financial transactions such as paying bills (73 percent), conducting banking activities (71 percent) and shopping (56 percent) were named most often.
  • 79 percent of mobile device owners said that they have never sent or received confidential information of any kind through their device, which may further illustrate their lack of confidence in security.

Mobile devices are now an integral part of today’s busy lifestyle, and new applications and services are proliferating to support the need for on-the-go convenience. Mobile operators also have a vested interest in supporting these offerings as an additional revenue stream. However, as convenient as these offerings are, the data from this study suggests that users may require additional assurance that mobile transactions can be conducted securely before they are willing to fully leverage these services.

Mobile device owners also indicated that mobile spam has established a highly visible presence on networks, with 44 percent of owners indicating that they have received spam on their mobile device. Device owners who have received mobile spam reported the following as the most common types of mobile spam they received:

  • Messages asking them to call another number (45 percent)
  • Messages containing a link to another Web site (42 percent)
  • Messages encouraging them to disclose of personal information (29 percent). These messages are also known as phishing, and can lead to identity theft and fraud.
  • Messages from a person or entity posing as a trusted contact/source (24 percent).