Over 50% of smartphone users in the world do not use passwords to protect their devices.

 

More than 23,000 mobile devices get lost or stolen globally every month, leaving such devices susceptible to theft of personal information of those who had been using the devices and misuse of such information across the globe, a research conducted by Kaspersky Lab, a leading giant in the internet security market, has revealed.

The research has further revealed that over 50% of total smartphone users do not use passwords to protect their devices, making them more susceptible to leakage of data and misuse of such data from stolen devices.

India currently has about 300-400 million smartphone users and this number is likely to grow to at least 530 million users by the end of this year. According to cyber experts, with the total number of internet users in the country crossing the 500 million mark by June 2018, the cyber environment has become susceptible to serious threats and this situation needs to be addressed at the earliest.

Such experts have also pointed out that Android devices are more prone to cyber security breach than Apple’s iOS devices due to Apple’s strict policies regarding security of its devices.

The Kaspersky Lab research has also pointed out that among smartphones, android devices are more prone to security breaches. According to the research, among the total number of devices stolen and their security breached, 57% were Android devices. Apple iPhone’s security breach stood at 21% of the total smartphones lost or stolen.

Dmitry Aleshin, vice president for product marketing at Kaspersky Lab, India, said, “These figures indicate the scale at which devices go missing. The 23,000 figure of mobile devices that get lost or stolen every month globally only tells us about Android devices with the Kaspersky Lab Anti-Theft feature switched on. Data could not be collated about devices where this feature is not switched on; therefore, the total figure could be much more. As the Anti-Theft feature is so simple to use and easily available, our advice to all users is to consider protecting their devices and to have a safe and secure cyber environment.”

Data most vulnerable and at risk of being stolen or misused from smartphones include messages, contacts, location details, email IDs and passwords, photos and videos stored on the  devices.

The Kaspersky Lab research has also highlighted that about 41% of the total smartphone users do not even have a back-up of their sensitive information, including their personal photos and videos, while only 21% of such total users use the Anti-Theft feature in their devices.

The Anti-Theft feature in the “Internet Security for Android” prevents a user’s data from being accessed if one’s device is lost or stolen. It does this by allowing a user to lock and locate a device remotely if it is lost, turn on the device’s alarm even if the sound is switched to silent mode. The feature also allows one to click pictures of the location on Google Maps and send it to the registered users’ email ID.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has formed a committee of experts on data protection headed by Justice (Retired) B.N. Srikrishna to look into the nuances of data protection and devise a mechanism and frame a law for protection of data and privacy in India.

The Committee has already submitted its report to the Ministry last month and, according to sources, the Ministry is studying the report in detail as it is technical in nature and needs to be understood in greater depth.

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