HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, has released its first HMD Global ANZ Smartphone and Data Security Report, which explores the complicated relationship New Zealanders have with their mobile phones, from security concerns, to data transparency through to the complexities of packing our personal and working lives into one device.
The report tells us that although over half (51%) of phone owners in New Zealand are concerned about their phone’s security, a third (35%) have no idea where their data is stored. Meanwhile, over a quarter (27%) of New Zealanders don’t understand how their phone’s manufacturer handles customer data and 24% call for more transparency.
Almost four in ten Baby Boomer (37%) employees want clearer boundaries by separating their work and personal devices – compared to three in ten (29%) from Gen Z. The study also found that 54,000 Kiwis have accidentally shared a work file with a personal contact whilst on their mobile phone.
As COVID-19 related scams, smartphone security and malware issues prevail, the report found that over half (51%) of New Zealand mobile phone users are concerned about their phone’s security.
A quarter (24%) are calling for more transparency around how phone manufacturers handle our data. Indeed, when it comes to how and where our data is stored, confusion prevails among New Zealanders. Over a third (35%) admit they have no clue in which country their phone’s data is stored.
Although more than a quarter (27%) don’t understand how manufacturers handle customer data, Kiwis are willing to seek out information, with 31% saying they’d like to learn more about how to use their phones safely when it comes to protecting their data security.
And even though security patches and operating system updates play a critical role in ensuring smartphones are safe and secure, a third of Kiwi mobile phone owners (33%) are either unsure of their importance or claim it’s not important that their phone runs on the latest Operating System.
Only 36% of mobile phone owners in New Zealand diligently update their device immediately when prompted. There are still however, almost a third (29%) of phone owners in New Zealand who wait more than a week before doing so – leaving nearly 6.9 million Kiwis targets for hackers as they press snooze on their security updates.
With living rooms and kitchen tables turning into office spaces, working Kiwis see many benefits to keeping these two realms apart and mobile phones play a critical role in this. The HMD Global ANZ Smartphone and Data Security Report found that of those who were employed during lockdown, the majority (85%) would use a complimentary work phone if offered by their employer.
Baby Boomers are particularly keen for more boundaries, with more than a third (37%) of Baby Boomers wanting a work phone to keep their work and personal lives separate compared to 29% of Gen Z.
When it comes to work phones, security is a consideration. More than a quarter of those employed during lockdown desire a work phone for secure work communications (27%), in addition to device security for work data and files (21%).
When it comes to our security mishaps, the generational gap is significant with Millennials (16%) admitting that friends and family have occasionally seen work-related files and conversations on their personal devices, compared to just 3% of Baby Boomers.
Packing personal and professional lives into one device has also led to 54,000 Kiwis accidentally sharing a work file with a personal contact whilst on their mobile phone.
While secure work phones add an extra layer of safety for work communications and bring balance to our increasingly fluid working lives, there is room for improvement. Among the Kiwis employed during the pandemic, only 21% currently have a work phone offered by their employer.
James Robinson, HMD Global Country Manager ANZ says, “The attitudes and behaviours in HMD Global’s ANZ report highlight the need for an in-depth, considered conversation around smartphone security and the role phone manufacturers and individuals play in this dynamic.
“These findings are a wake-up call to both: giving a hefty nudge to the industry to focus on the security of our customers – while empowering everyone to not only demand better from phone manufacturers but also, take simple steps towards keeping safe and connected.
“At HMD Global, we pride ourselves on delivering our promise of two years of OS upgrades and three years of security updates for all devices with pure Android. New Zealanders are guaranteed a safe and secure device with all activation and performance data stored at the Google Cloud Region in Hamina, Finland and protection via European security measures and legislation, including General Data Protection Regulation.”
In terms of recommendations, HMD suggests that people get to use more two-factor authentication as applying a two-step authentication process when signing into accounts on your mobile and other devices keep your data and accounts safe from scammers or hackers. Two-factor verification can be applied by combining your regular password with an additional security factor. This can be a fingerprint scan, facial recognition, or you can download a smartphone authenticator app that generates a unique code that changes every so often, to be used in parallel with your password.