Most Mobile Users Don't Know if They Have Security

By David Needle

February 14, 2008

McAfee-sponsored research finds mobile users expect vendors to pre-install 24 x 7 protection.

Security vendor McAfee released results of a survey of mobile users focused on their awareness and concerns related to security threats, which showed more than three quarters of respondents don't have any security at all.

The survey was conducted on McAfee's behalf by analysis firm Datamonitor and released this week. Respondents were spread evenly between the U.S. the U.K. and Japan. It found 79 percent of mobile device users don't use any antivirus or other security software on their devices at all while 15 percent said they were unsure if their device had security software.

However, the number is somewhat misleading, as many of what count as a "mobile device" are non-PCs, such as Blackberries, iPhones and other smart phones. These products have generally not been the target of malware nor is there antivirus software available for them.

McAfee concedes there is a considerable gap between the volume and severity of threats facing PC users versus mobile. The company also notes the relatively closed software architecture of most mobile devices prevents user from installing security software.

That said, users aren't necessarily clamoring to buy third party solutions. A majority (six out of ten) of users surveyed said they expect mobile operators to take primary responsibility for protecting their mobile devices and security.

Users of more advanced mobile services, such as Web surfing, raised the most security concerns in the study. McAfee posits that mobile security stands to become a much bigger issues as Web 2.0 technology (social networks, blogs and other user-generated content) makes its way to mobile world.

Specifically, McAfee said the spread of user-generated content dramatically increases the exposure of confidential and personal data over the network.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.



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