Here is a scary statistic: Almost 66 percent of smartphone owners do not password protect their phones, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It turns out, the weakest link in the mobile payments security chain may not be in the technology or the hardware, but in the consumer, the Reserve Bank concluded.
“While the efforts to secure mobile payments are ongoing, many consumers neglect to take basic precautions,” said Marianne Crowe, vice president of payment strategies at the Boston Fed.
A 2012 Javelin Strategy & Research survey resulted in similar findings. Javelin found that 7 percent of smartphone owners were victims of identity fraud. This is a one-third higher incidence rate compared to the general public. Javelin believes part of this increase may be attributable to consumer behavior: 32 percent of smartphone owners do not update to a new operating system when it becomes available; 32 percent save login information on their devices; and 62 percent do not use a password on their home screens, enabling anyone to access their information if the phone is lost.
First released in 2008, the Android operating system is one of the fastest-growing operating systems for smartphones. Unfortunately, it also appears to have the most malware issues. The number of Android malware attacks increased 400 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to Juniper Networks’ “Malicious Mobile Threats Report 2010/2011,” a global mobile threat study. Apple appears to be doing a better job protecting its mobile users against cyber threats. The iPhone has never seen a virus, and its only spam app was removed, according to an article on Mashable.com. But there are some that believe it is only a matter of time before Apple falls prey to these attacks.
To prevent fraudulent activity and other problems — no matter what type of phone you own — the best protection for mobile devices is education. To learn how to secure a mobile device, train staff to secure their devices and educate customers on the importance of taking these precautions, click on the links below.
Kari English is senior editor of BankNews.
Copyright (c) April 2013 by BankNews Media