Digital friend can become digital frenemy; Kaspersky Lab
UAE smartphone users place trust in devices but private information could be exposed
Analysts Kaspersky Lab and B2B International revealed the close relationship users have with their digital devices, despite the risk of being spied on.
The study found that 83% of UAE respondents store important, confidential and irreplaceable information on their smartphones, including passwords, messages, photos, contacts and files and 28% say their devices carry sensitive and secret information.
When using such devices outside the home, especially on an open WiFi network, they face potential risks, which includes damage, loss and theft, but also hacking by cybercriminals with the intention of stealing data or even spying on the user.
However the study revealed 64% use their device at work, 52% in cars, 46% on public transport, 66% in bed and 33% in the bathroom. Yet with these statistics, only 18% of users in the UAE adapt their online activities when on an insecure public WiFi network, but 62% use security features on the smartphone, such as "find my device".
"The bond of trust between users and their devices can lead them to forget about security. It's hard to imagine that something we carry close to us at all times and turn to for everything, could ever become a threat. But it can, and does happen. A digital friend can become a digital frenemy," said Peter Aleshkin, head of consumer marketing of emerging markets at Kaspersky Lab.
According to the study, a quarter of people whose devices had been lost or stolen discovered that their personal of secret information had been leaked.
Aleshkin added: "A failure to appreciate the potential risks and to protect our devices and information accordingly could mean the loss of confidential information, money and even our identities. The device camera that we use to look out onto the world can be hacked and used to look into our world instead. Security is simply not an optional extra."
Kaspersky Lab recommends smartphone holders should set strong passwords and for their online accounts, and to be aware when using websites and apps over insecure WiFi networks.