Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Norton Study: Many Mobile Devices in the Middle East and Africa are Unlocked and Unprotected

Norton by Symantec today released new insights into Middle East and African consumers’ mobile use and behaviours1, revealing that adults rely on their mobile devices more than ever, yet few are taking some of the necessary precautions to keep their devices and content safe and secure.

According to a report published in 2013 by Twinpine, a mobile advertising network reaching millions of Africans on mobile devices via the mobile web, mobile penetration in Nigeria is 69.01%. The report revealed that mobile subscribers grew by 18% between 2011 and 2012.

Consumers in the Middle East and Africa are now living various aspects of their work, social and online lives through their mobile devices. From surfing onlineto downloading apps, shopping and making payments from their mobile device, Norton found that nearly nine out of ten online adults (87%) in the Middle East and Africa are mobile device users, of which a large majority (78%) are using them to access the Internet.

“People are relying more and more on their mobile phones and tablets to navigate, share, socialize and shop in today’s constantly-connected world,” said Kara Rawden at Norton by Symantec. “What many consumers maynot realise is exactly how much of their personal and private information is up for grabs should these devices be compromised, lost or stolen. Considering the sensitive nature of data that is accessible from personal mobile devices, consumers need to take some basic, yet easy, precautions to protect it from falling into the wrong hands.”

“Risky Business” on Mobile Devices

Yet as people expand their online lives through mobile devices, many are not taking steps to secure their device and the content it contains, specifically:

Nearly one in fourmobile device users in the Middle East and Africa admit to not always downloading applications from trustworthy sources

Close to three in ten (29%) indicated that they do not use secure payment methods when making purchases from their mobile device, leaving their sensitive information such as credit card details vulnerable

In addition, more than one-quarter (28%), admitted to not using a password to help protect their personal data. In the event of theft or loss, a treasure trove of personal information stored on the device can potentially be accessed including personal emails, a possiblegateway to other sensitive information such as work correspondence and documents (54%), passwords for other online accounts (20%), and bank statements (33%).2

The lack of precaution taken by mobile users can have unfortunate consequences for some: close to two in five mobile users in the Middle East and Africa have fallen victim to mobile cybercrime3.

“Consumers know how important it is to protect their computer from the wide range of threats they can encounter when online and off,” said Kara Rawden. “Yet, provisions also need to be taken to secure Internet-connected mobile devices that are just as vulnerable to cybercriminals looking to make some quick cash or to steal personal information. In the case of theft or loss, your data is in someone else’s hands.By installing mobile security software which protects against malicious online threats and enablesyou to lock, locate and wipe your device remotely, you can secure your personal life frompotential intruders.”

Visit mobilesecurity.comfor additional insights from Norton mobile security experts, including articles, videos, widgets and infographics shedding light on timely mobile topics.

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