That mobile phones have gone on to assume a very important role in our lives has been a fact that has been stated several times over. And this case holds as much true in India, as it does elsewhere. However, having said that it is also imperative that one takes adequate security measures, as rise in the use of mobile phones has also made instances of mobile cybercrime a common occurrence. In its latest survey, Norton highlights the mobile phone usage pattern in India, the importance of their personal information and their level of understanding when it comes to mobile security.
Just as it has been known, the device plays a very definite role in our lives, enabling us to be communicative at all times. However, the survey found that mobile phone users in the country are increasingly using the device not only to stay connected, but to also go through their daily tasks and enjoy activities that improve their lifestyle. The most interesting revelation, however, was that a whopping 72 percent of the online population in the country have at least one mobile phone on them – a number, which if placed alongside the percentage comprising those owning a computer, i.e. 92 percent, seems starkly low. The survey further found that 90 percent of those surveyed accessed Internet on their computers, whereas roughly half the population (48 percent) used their phones to access Internet.
72 percent of the online population in the country have at least one mobile phone (Image credit: Getty Images)
Moving further in the order, social networking emerged as the most popular online mobile phone activity (60 percent), followed by reading the news that falls back at 44 percent, closely followed by online messaging (42 percent). Mobile banking and payments, location-based tasks, navigation and online shopping, too featured in the list occupying 34 percent, 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
Mobile security and awareness about it hold significance in the mobile phone scheme of things. Quite contrary to this, the survey highlighted that while 60 percent of Indians agreed that mobile threats are real, roughly 38 percent of the mobile phone users in the country do not have password protection on their phones – a gaping hole in the belief that mobile security is treated with utmost seriousness. Common knowledge says that a password-protected phone can go a long way in protecting personal information of the owner, should he or she lose the device. Strangely, 17 percent were even unaware if it is possible to remotely track their phone using GPS navigation software.
Instances of people losing their mobile phone are fairly common. According to the survey, 43 percent Indians have had their mobile phone lost or stolen, with the majority (59 percent) losing it. It was found that 77 percent of the victims found losing their contact information to be the worst outcome of the incident, while 50 percent found it to have invaded their privacy. Interestingly, to resolve the situation, three in four Indians had paid an average of Rs. 14,350, the survey found.
The report states, “In fact, 70 percent Indians would have paid a “ransom” averaging INR 14, 506 in order to resolve their lost or stolen phone issue, and one in two would forgo a date with their favourite celebrity rather than lose their mobile phone! This further reinforces the high dependency Indians have on their phones and the value they place on their personal information. It is promising to know that 73 percent of connected Indians believe that security software would have helped in their mobile data recovery.”
David Freer, Vice President of Norton for Asia Pacific & Japan added that, “India is eventually being a very tech savvy nation that is hugely mobile and connected. Consumers have a good understanding of online threats that can affect them on their computers, but mobile security threats are something they need to start being aware of. “With greater connectivity to the Internet through mobile devices, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting this platform. With so much valuable and personal information residing on our mobile devices, mobile users need to have the right security measures in place – both a reliable mobile security solution and personal diligence to back up important information.”