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Virgin Media: Smartphone users not doing enough to stay safe online

Friday, June 2nd 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Only a third of Brits have installed anti-virus software on their mobile phone, a study by Virgin Media has shown.

This is despite the vast majority of people (94%) believing data security is important.

Virgin found that 9.4 million Brits – 19% of mobile users – have fallen victim to online fraud or cybercrime, yet many still make basic security mistakes.

Nearly a fifth (17%) of those polled by Virgin admitted to storing their passwords on their phone, either in the Notes app or as names in their contacts list.

Just over a fifth of people (21%) store passwords in a password manager such as LastPass or LogMeOnce.

One in ten say they’ve never changed any of their online passwords and 43% don’t use a numerical passcode to secure access to their phone.

Even among those who say they take data security seriously, 7% have used public wi-fi to send bank details and 5% have used it for sending naked selfies.

According to the research, 17% of Brits don’t think anyone will ever steal information from their phone and 29% say security apps just aren’t necessary on smartphones.

Virgin is offering all its mobile customers a year’s free access to F-Secure SAFE and F-Secure KEY Premium Password Manager on up to five devices, and a 70% discount thereafter.

'Lack of awareness'

Jeff Dodds, Virgin Mobile’s managing director, said: “While Brits spend more time browsing the web on their smartphones than on laptops, our research shows a lack of awareness about security.

“Not enough people are protecting themselves from the growing threat of cybercrime on the very device they use the most.

“We’re helping to protect our customers from these online risks with advanced security software bundled into their existing plans.”

Cyber security expert Dr Jessica Barker said: “The British public are increasingly aware of cyber security and the overwhelming majority agree that it is important.

“However, there is a gap between this awareness and behaviours: most people, for example, do not take steps to keep the information on their smartphones safe.

“A driving factor in this is that cyber security can seem difficult and overwhelming. However, it does not need to be this way and security online is increasingly important.”

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