Only 28 Percent of Consumers Are Fully Confident in Mobile Device Security

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A recent survey of more than 1,400 mobile users in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia found that just 28 percent of consumers feel completely safe using their mobile device for all online activities.

Blancco Technology Group's Risky Mobile Business study also found that 33 percent feel somewhat confident in the security of their mobile devices, but don't feel safe using them for shopping -- and 23 percent said they're hesitant to link their credit cards to mobile apps.

When asked what types of information they're most fearful of being accessed without their consent, 52 percent said they're most concerned about financial information, 19 percent listed usernames and passwords, and 11 percent said photos and videos.

And when asked when their mobile data and personal information were last accessed without their consent, 29 percent of respondents said they had no idea, while 22 percent said it had happened within the past year, and 42 percent said it had never happened.

Still, many users leverage their personal mobile devices for work -- when asked what work-related activities they're mostly likely to do exclusively from their mobile devices, 32 percent said they use them to send work-related emails, 18 percent access public Wi-Fi networks, 16 percent make work-related video and voice calls, 7 percent review work-related content, and 4 percent said they create work-related content on their personal mobile devices.

"Together, these findings point to a lack of awareness about the ease with which data can be hacked through insecure networks, as well as how businesses need to tightly monitor exactly how and where employees are accessing, storing and sharing corporate data on their mobile devices -- whether they're at home, at work or on-the-go," the report states.

What's more, when asked what the most effective way would be to protect mobile data and personal information, fully 25 percent suggested deleting sensitive files and folders or locking the device with a passcode, and 7 percent suggested applying a factory reset.

"Unfortunately, many users -- as well as enterprise businesses -- mistakenly assume that manually 'deleting' data or performing a factory reset will wipe a mobile device clean and eliminate any potential security threats," the report states. "But that's just not true. A factory reset only removes pointers to the data, but it doesn't actually erase the data forever."

When asked what they would do first if their device was lost or stolen, 21 percent said they would disable the device through their mobile carrier and buy a replacement, and 19 percent would use GPS to locate the device.

Just 7 percent would remotely wipe sensitive information from the device.

"The study's findings point to a larger mindset shift that needs to take place," Blancco CEO Pat Clawson said in a statement. "Both individuals and businesses cannot simply confine their understanding of security to the scope of devices or IT assets. Instead, they need to approach it from the perspective of information management across the entire lifecycle -- from the moment information is created to when it's transferred to where it's stored, and finally, to how it's removed permanently (not just 'deleted')."

Recent eSecurity Planet articles have offered advice on using two-factor authentication for mobile security and examined the 10 trickiest mobile security threats.