24% Indians Don’t Know How To Protect Their Smartphones: Study

While they may not lag behind on acquiring the latest smartphone or tablet (even ‘phablets’) or using one for hours on end, Indians are certainly not ‘smart’ enough when it comes to safeguarding their gadgets from cybercriminals.
 
Typical cybercrime entails identity theft, phishing, hacking into personal data, and cyber bullying, wherein a person is stalked or harassed online. Of the users in the country, 40% do not use any mobile security solution, while as many as 24% don’t even know that their phone can be secured, states a report on cybercrime.
 
Of mobile users in India, 68% are addicted to their phones – the highest in the Asia-Pacific region – and about as many (69%) use their mobile device to connect to the Internet, says Norton Cybercrime Report (NCR).
 
At the same time, when nearly 1.15 lakh Indians are affected by consumer cybercrime (across all online platforms) each day, 57% of users still believe they cannot fall prey to cybercrime, with 40% using no security solution on their device.
 
“The threat landscape is getting broader with increased networks and fake apps. Last year, mobile malware increased by 58%, and 50% of the same created in 2012 attempted to steal information or track movements,” explains Norton country sales manager, Ritesh Chopra.
 
Nearly 53% of the users reported losing their device or having it stolen, and 44% received unsolicited SMSes asking them to call back an unknown number or click on an embedded link, it said. Despite such vulnerabilities, 29% mobile users here do not use any password to lock their devices, the report stated. Experts recommend using anti-virus as well as malware scanning apps.
 
Most users don’t bother reading the permissions they are granting a mobile app they have downloaded, he said.
 
A hacker can then use such compromised phones to access the user’s geo-location, contact & address book, send messages and calls easily. On the flipside, Indians are a wary lot, with 73% mobile users only downloading data from trusted sources and 69% users limiting the sites they visit to known ones, the report stated.
 
Smartphones have replaced need for desktop computers to surf the net, say experts. “The devices are used for surfing, downloading apps, mobile banking, et al. With so much happening, it is imperative to think of the device’s vulnerabilities,” said senior VP at city-based network security solutions provider Cyberoam, Abhilash Sonwane.
 
Cybercriminals find it easy to place malicious links on smartphones owing to its limited screen size and get users to click on them unintentionally, while the PC’s larger screen space acts as a buffer, he said.
 
“However, in stock form, these phones are less ‘hackable’ than a computer as their operating system (OS) minimises installation of malware. It is only when a user tries to save money by rooting or jailbreaking (unlocking) the phone that the risk factor goes up,” Sonwane explained.
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Courtesy : DNA
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