Women worry more than men do about hackers stealing their credit card numbers and banking information from smartphones, new survey data from NQ Mobile and the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance suggest.
But men think they know more overall about security threats to smartphones, the survey data indicate.
The results of the online survey of 1,158 U.S.-based smartphone owners the organizations conducted in December also revealed that, although more than half of the respondents who owned smartphones had data-security concerns, most failed to use basic handset password-protection features.
San Jose, Calif.-based NQ Mobile, a division of NetQin Mobile Inc., which markets mobile device security products, Inc., released the data Jan. 25.
Some 41% of respondents said they had used smartphones to conduct online banking activities; 33% had used them for shopping online, and 10% stored credit card or other financial information.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents were concerned about storing passwords on smartphones, and 58% worried about storing banking or other financial data on their devices.
Overall, women more than men are concerned about specific security and privacy threats associated with using smartphones, the data suggest. For example, 72% of women surveyed expressed concern about crooks hacking their phones to gain access to bank or credit card accounts online, compared with 60% of male respondents who expressed such concern.
But male respondents believed they were generally more aware of security threats. Asked to rank their awareness of specific types of security threats, 24% of the men surveyed said they were “very aware” of such threats, compared with 13% of women who said so.
About a third, or 34% of respondents routinely used password protections for smartphone access. But those with children were much more likely than were nonparents to use password protections for smartphone access (42% versus 29%).
Some 27% of respondents routinely backed up data stored on their smartphones, and 23% had some type of tracking function to locate their lost or misplaced smartphone. Fifteen percent of respondents had antivirus software on their smartphones.
More than half of respondents said they were interested in adding antivirus software to their smartphones, while 51% said they would consider adding privacy protection and 45% were planning to begin using password-protection features.
"It's clear that smartphone users take protecting their data and privacy seriously, but they don't feel they know enough about how to keep their mobile devices safe," NQ Mobile co-CEO Omar Khan said in the release.
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