About a week ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the 2013 Norton Report, which showed that while people have generally become more savvy about protecting themselves on their desktop computers, they haven’t been as vigilant about their personal information on their smartphones and tablets. This is become an especially worrisome problem now that more and more people are using smartphones and are even using their work devices for personal and family use. According to Philip Routley, Symantec’s Product Manager for Consumer and SMB:
Today’s cybercriminials are using more sophisticated attacks, such as ransomware and spear-phishing, which yield them more money per attack than ever before. With 49% of consumers using their personal mobile device for both work and play, this creates entirely new security risks for enterprises as cybercriminals have the potential to access even more valuable information.
Out of those surveyed for the 2013 Norton Report, it was found that 63% owned smartphones and 30% owned tablets. Yet about 1 in 32 of smartphone and tablet owners didn’t take the most basic precautions to protect those devices and the information on them. Simple things like passwords, security software, and backups were often ignored in favor of convenience.
The problem is a general lack of awareness among consumers. Protecting their PCs but not their mobile devices was likened to securing a home with an alarm system but leaving the cars parked outside, unlocked and with doors wide open. This is alarming since the survey did find that 34% of those surveyed skipped many simple precautionary measures because of the inconvenience. This is when 62% said that they didn’t believe that true online privacy could be achieved and 61% said that anything put online can and will be seen by anyone and everyone. Here are a few statistical bits from this year’s Norton Report.
While I consider myself to be a technologically savvy individual, the 2013 Norton Report did surprise me by pointing out some bad habits that I have gotten used to for quite some time. I didn’t use a unique password for all of my online accounts, I didn’t encrypt the information on my gadgets, and I didn’t make backups of all of my important information. My PC is already well locked down thanks to Norton 360, but what’s the use of a license that can be used for up to 5 different devices including smartphones and tablets if I’m not going to install them?
To be honest with you, the 2013 Norton Report isn’t going to change some of my bad habits. For example, I don’t make backups of the information on my phone aside from my contacts and calendar since everything that should be synced is kept synced. Also, I probably won’t install Norton Security Antivirus on my phone since I like to keep my phone’s resources free. I will however install Norton Identity Safe so it can generate and remember unique passwords for all of my online accounts. It’s a small thing to do and it will help keep all of my private information secure.
I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of you out there who can do a little extra to protect your personal information. Want some more information about the consequences of cybercrime negligence and how to protect yourself? Here’s a neat little infographic from the folks over at Symantec.