Lookout’s Mobile Privacy IQ study, a survey of smartphone owners in the United States, examines data-based trends about our privacy mindsets and how they inform our perceptions, behaviors, and feelings toward privacy when using mobile devices. What we found is that despite being increasingly tuned in to the importance of protecting the data on their mobile devices, a clear disconnect exists between people’s understanding of what it means to be privacy conscious and the actions they take in the real world..
The results of Lookout’s Mobile Privacy IQ study highlight a gap that exists between awareness of privacy issues and the actions people are taking with their mobile devices to protect their privacy. While people claim to understand how to protect their privacy, they are still unknowingly partaking in behaviors that could put themselves and their employers at risk. Furthermore, they are still willing to trade privacy for convenience.
Mobile devices have become the predominant computing platform for both work and pleasure, and thus house and have access to valuable personal and corporate data, making them rich targets for cybercriminals. As we lay the foundation for a connected world, the need to protect privacy, across all devices, will only continue to become increasingly important.
Tips for Consumers – So how can you be proactive and ensure you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your privacy on mobile? It’s simple really – there are a number of steps people can take to prevent their personal information from falling into the wrong hands.
1. Set a pin or passcode. Don’t jump on the “no passcode” bandwagon like nearly 35% of people who say they excel in mobile privacy. Set a passcode on your phone. It’s your first line of defense against prying eyes and thieves.
2. On public Wi-Fi, limit email, social networking and only window shop. Public Wi-Fi networks are everywhere, but security for these networks is scarce, making it relatively simple for hackers to snoop on your Internet activity. Take a note from the 25% of smartphone owners who never connect to open Wi-Fi.
3. The final “s” is key. 1 in 5 smartphone users never bother to check whether a URL leads with “https” before visiting a website on mobile. When browsing the web on mobile, take the extra step once the page has fully loaded to make sure the URL you’re visiting leads with “https.” This ensures that your connection is secure.
4. Clear your browsing history regularly. We found that 17% of people have never cleared their browsing and search history on their smartphone. Go above and beyond to protect your privacy if an unauthorized third-party ever gets ahold of your device.
5. Use discretion when downloading apps and pay attention to the apps ratings and reviews. Ultimately, don’t be afraid to just say ‘no.’ If you’re uncomfortable with the info an app is accessing, don’t hesitate to stop installation or delete it. In fact, 56% of smartphone owners have decided against installing an app after reading the privacy or permissions statement.
6. If you’re not comfortable with broadcasting your location, turn Location Services off. Both Android and iOS phones have functionality that allows your location to be broadcast to a number of services.
7. And last but not least, download a mobile security app, like Lookout, that checks for malware and spyware, fights against phone loss and theft, and notifies you of the information apps on your phone are accessing.
Survey Methodology – This study was conducted via an online survey from January 29 to February 5, 2015, among 1,012 United States respondents 18+ who currently own a smartphone. Respondents were recruited from the Univox Community online survey panel. The margin of error for this survey is 3.1%.