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Mobile users not protected against security threats

Survey shows mobile users expect operators to take responsibility for stopping fraud and data theft

Over half of all mobile users expect telecom operators to take responsibility for protecting mobile devices from fraud and security risks, according to a report from McAfee.

The McAfee Mobile Security Report 2008 showed that 59% of mobile subscribers think that telecoms operators should have primary responsibility for security, although 79% of users know that their mobile devices have no protection.

The survey of 2,000 mobile users worldwide showed a growing concern over mobile threats, with 86% of respondents expressing worry over problems such as data theft or fraud. Respondents were also concerned about the safety of mobile payments and downloads.

Patrick Hayati, regional director for McAfee Middle East said that operators need to do more to reassure users, or else they would risk users choosing to avoid new services because of safety fears.

"Concerns about specific mobile security risks or the loss of credibility in the reliability of services is a crucial issue for operators, particularly in mature markets. Yet, this research clearly highlights that consumer fears are growing in tandem with increased mobile functionality, jeopardizing the success of new revenue-generating services and increased operator ARPU," he said.

"Retaining consumer confidence will prove critical in ensuring life value and listening to the end user is becoming ever more important in creating innovative and intuitive services which subscribers will want, and trust, to use and are prepared to pay for," Hayati added.

The survey was carried out by Datamonitor, with online respondents in the US, UK and Japan.