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Consumers’ Attitude to Mobile Security: RiskIQ Report Takeaways

Expanding their winter’s report, Flurry released the data that states: U.S. mobile users look at their mobile devices for 5 hours in total every day, spending 8% of this time in browser and 92% – in apps. With people clearly getting more and more addicted to their devices, and new Android viruses being on the loose, RiskIQ wondered how security conscious mobile users are.

By RiskIQ’s request, Ginger Comms research group conducted a survey among 1,000 U.S. and 1,000 UK residents of different age groups and released the statistics in April 2017. Despite U.S. mobile users turning out to be more aware of the security measures than those in the UK, the results are still quite alarming.

Since security isn’t the responsibility of users alone, we share these findings and think about what mobile developers and app stores can offer to mitigate the risks.


Both official and unofficial stores have malicious apps

According to the stats, untrustworthy sources are widely used for downloading and installing new apps. About 44% of users install apps advertised via social media, while 55% and 48% have clicked on app-promoting ads and links at least once. What’s worse, 54% of these users do not read Terms and Conditions before installing an app. As a result, about 20% of users end up downloading fake and malicious mobile software.

Official stores’ ‘Top Apps’ category remains the most popular source for discovering and installing new apps. Yet, even when the source is official, there’s no 100% guarantee the app is safe: RiskIQ uncovered that 1 in 10 out of over 5,000 Black Friday apps on global app stores gets blacklisted.

It goes without saying that in this situation mobile app stores – both official and not – should pay more attention to their content. By creating powerful filters and assigning more resources to maintain the uploaded apps, stores should aim at blocking malicious software before it becomes available to the public.

More people root and jailbreak their phones

While only 7% of UK respondents have hacked their smartphones, in the U.S. this practice is popular among 20% of the surveyed users. All of them do so at their own peril. Along with getting more possibilities, owners of rooted/jailbroken devices get more exposed to malicious content, as they consciously shun the security measures provided to them by the platform and device developers.

Mobile developers have always been trying to make their platforms difficult to penetrate, but no matter how hard they try, systems will be hacked. What’s more, jailbreaking has become legal yet in 2000. Advising users to install specific security scanners for rooted/jailbroken smartphones and tablets may be a way to keep these devices cleaner.

Enterprises are in danger too

Out of the 1,000 U.S. users questioned, 45% mentioned using their mobile devices for work outside or inside of their company office. As the BYOD policy is now getting widely adopted, this means that the risk of digital infections in enterprises is on the rise. A single employee’s disregard for mobile security guidelines may affect the entire company’s network and its digital data.

To avoid the threat, enterprises should keep their security system professionally maintained and, of course, bring security issues to the attention of employees. Since most people are used to skipping long rules, terms and conditions in form, it may be more effective to make the regulations as concise and to the point as possible.

Reassuring trend

Despite the mostly disturbing findings, RiskIQ also revealed that mobile users start acknowledging the risks they take. The statistics say that 53% of all U.S. respondents have installed security software on their mobile devices and 52% considered security to be one of the main factors that affected their mobile device choice. Hopefully, with more efforts on the part of mobile app developers and stores, the trend will only keep on spreading among the users.

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