September 22, 2011
Predictions that the smartphone will be the next attack vector are starting to ring true: A new survey published today shows that in the past 12 months, 6 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. have had malware on their devices, and 7 percent have inadvertently downloaded a malicious app.
The Loudhouse survey, commissioned by AdaptiveMobile, also found that users consider security threats a greater criteria for trusting their mobile providers than service quality. Nearly 70 percent said trust in a carrier is all about it protecting their personal information, and 54 percent said when that data is compromised, that trust relationship suffers. Some 45 percent trust mobile carriers with their personal data; 41 percent, their mobile handset maker; 38 percent, the government; and 26 percent, social networks.
Gareth Maclachlan, chief operating officer for AdaptiveMobile, says the survey results indicate there's a lot more attacks hitting smartphones already than was believed. "Most attacks are using SMS and social engineering. It doesn't matter what kind of handset you've got in your hand -- we don't buy into the Android being less secure than the iPhone," he says, noting the number of flaws in the iPhone OS and Android are similar. "With Android, attackers are exploiting user behavior and the business model versus the technology … It's easier to write code for Android, not that it's less secure."
Maclachlan says he was surprised by the percentage of users who had already been infected with mobile malware. "We have never seen that level of infection within any operator," he says. "It's starting to pick up the fear coming out from security vendors" about mobile platforms, he says.
Nine out of 10 users said they would either change or consider changing providers if they experienced ongoing security incidents; 90 would drop their carriers if they had unauthorized items on their bills; 83 percent, for malware; and 71 percent, for spam.
More than half said they've been hit with at least one security incident in the past 12 months: Spam is the No. 1 incident, with 37 percent experiencing it. Some 16 percent found unexpected items on their mobile bills, and 15 percent were hit with SMS text phishing.
But that doesn't mean users are doing much more on their end to protect data on their smartphones. Some 40 percent said they would save passwords on their handset; 34 percent would open a text message from a sender they didn't know; and 28 percent would open an email from an unknown sender on their handsets. And only about 23 percent of users are running any security apps on their smartphones, 75 percent of whom said they only run it because it's free of charge.
Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.
About the Author(s)
You May Also Like
Hacking Your Digital Identity: How Cybercriminals Can and Will Get Around Your Authentication MethodsOct 26, 2023
Modern Supply Chain Security: Integrated, Interconnected, and Context-DrivenNov 06, 2023
How to Combat the Latest Cloud Security ThreatsNov 06, 2023
Reducing Cyber Risk in Enterprise Email Systems: It's Not Just Spam and PhishingNov 01, 2023
SecOps & DevSecOps in the CloudNov 06, 2023
How to Deploy Zero Trust for Remote Workforce Security
What Ransomware Groups Look for in Enterprise Victims
How to Use Threat Intelligence to Mitigate Third-Party Risk
Concerns Mount Over Ransomware, Zero-Day Bugs, and AI-Enabled Malware
Securing the Remote Worker: How to Mitigate Off-Site Cyberattacks
9 Traits You Need to Succeed as a Cybersecurity Leader
The Ultimate Guide to the CISSP
The Burnout Breach: How employee burnout is emerging as the next frontier in cybersecurity
Maximize the Human Potential of Your SOC
Gone Phishing: How to Defend Against Persistent Phishing Attempts Targeting Your Organization