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New Zealand consumers unaware of threats to their security through their mobile devices
Posted on 1-Jun-2015 11:24 | Tags Filed under: News

New research from Trend Micro reveals people aren’t always aware of the security concerns around browser settings, social media, Wi-Fi hotspots and free software.

The latest New Zealand-based research conducted by Trend Micro has found that New Zealanders spend on average five hours per day on the internet using mobile devices, but only 36 percent of consumers have installed security software on to their smartphones. This leaves them open to a range of mobile threats.

“The results of our New Zealand consumer survey show that consumers are under the impression a security breach won’t happen to them on a personal level,” said Tim Falinski, Consumer Director at Trend Micro ANZ. “When our research found consumers were spending five hours on mobile internet every day – even though two thirds don’t use mobile security software – it makes the size of the risk very clear. Consumers need to be aware that their everyday activities on their mobile devices may lead to a new pathway for individuals to exploit their data and personal information.”

Key findings include:
  • Can we trust our browsers: Our social media sites, online banking and community passwords give us protection against the unknown however six in 10 respondents allow their browser(s) to save their passwords at least sometimes. Falinski said, “Letting your browser save your password allows cyber criminals to have access to your personal login details to all of your accounts. Practise safe browsing by deleting your cookies/cache regularly and don’t save any passwords to your browser.”
  • The concern of privacy on social media: Social media offers new possibilities for people to connect, share and create their own online presence as Trend Micro found with 80 percent of New Zealand consumers using their mobile devices to access social media. Yet privacy is still a major concern, with 66 percent of consumers concerned about their private details but still sharing these details on a daily basis. “Social media is a very tempting place to share your personal information,” said Falinski. “But people need to remember that you’re not just sharing your photos or your personal details with your friends. You’re sharing it with the whole world, which removes the element of privacy.”
  • The unknown of Wi-Fi hotspots: The proliferation of free Wi-Fi provides consumers with more opportunity to use networked services on-the-go without incurring mobile network data charges. However, 36 percent of consumers were unsure how to check if the public Wi-Fi connection they were accessing was secure. Falinski said, “Public Wi-Fi hotspots lack the encryption we enjoy on private networks, which provides cyber-crims with the opportunity for data access and identity theft.” 
  • Our children and the Internet: Children are creating their own online presence from an early age yet only two in 10 adult consumers surveyed feel safe about their child using the Internet. Parents in New Zealand are clearly taking their child safety seriously with 89 percent of those surveyed having provided their children with guidance on how to stay safe and responsible while using the Internet. “It’s our responsibility as adults to ensure we’re paving a secure path for the next generation to navigate the online world safely, so it’s encouraging to see these very strong numbers,” said Falinski.
  • The daily scam: New Zealanders are finding more and more scams entering their email inboxes with 40 percent of those surveyed receiving 10 spam emails per week on their mobile devices. Falinski said, “No matter how advanced cybercrime becomes, there will always be those who try the quick, easy, oldest tricks in the book. Our job is to be aware that they exist and not be tricked by the scammers.”
  • The power of free software: Some consumers understand that it is important to protect themselves on their mobile devices however 65 percent of those who do have a security software or security app on their smartphone use a free version, which leaves gaps for security breaches. “Falinski said, “Any type of security software is better than having none at all, but consumers should check carefully the features of the software they’re choosing. To have a comprehensive barrier against the newest and most complex threats, consumers need to consider security software for their mobile devices that covers protection from viruses and identity theft, safe surfing and lost device protection.”

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