CLEARWATER, Fla., July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- GFI® Software today released new research showing that location-based services on mobile phones are highly sought after by consumers – and not just to find their lost devices. In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents, 12% say they would use location tracking to monitor their spouse's whereabouts, while 31% of respondents say they would track where their teen goes on a Friday night. More than half (59%) also say they would use such a service to make sure their children were safe or in the location they are supposed to be.
The independent blind survey was conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of GFI Software and gauged respondents' opinions on mobile security and functionality, the value of personal data stored on their devices and children's smartphone use.
Key highlights from the survey include:
At least one quarter of consumers in both the 16 to 24 (29%) and 25 to 34 (25%) age groups use a smartphone or tablet as their primary means of accessing the Internet or checking email.
This percentage sharply declines as the age groups increase – 14% for ages 35 to 44, 8% for ages 45-54 and 3% for consumers over the age of 55.
Identity theft ranked only fourth among the key concerns respondents would have if their phone was lost or stolen. Consumers report that the hassle and cost of buying a new phone, replacing their contact lists and losing memorable photos are more significant concerns.
35% of consumers believe their personal data is easily replaceable or does not pose a security risk to them.
One in three respondents believe that either their service carrier or their phone manufacturer is responsible for securing data stored on their smartphones.
"This research shows that younger generations are increasingly turning to mobile devices as their go-to-source for communicating and browsing the Web, yet there is still a profound lack of understanding among consumers of all ages about the value of the personal data stored on these devices, as well as confusion over who is responsible for securing them," said Mark Patton, general manager, Security Business Unit at GFI Software. "For this reason, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting mobile devices, and it's alarming to think about the number of people who aren't leveraging the tools – literally at their fingertips, such as mobile antivirus – that can help protect personal data and prevent identity theft."
From Risk to Reward
Children's smartphone use is another grey area among consumers. Parents may be extremely vigilant in monitoring their children's Internet use in the home, but with mobile devices, kids can now communicate with anyone and access the Internet from anywhere without parental supervision. As such, monitoring children's smartphone use is now just as important as monitoring their activity on a PC or laptop. However, survey results reveal varying opinions when it comes to the age respondents think is critical for parents to begin doing so – under 10 (17%), 10-12 (18%), 12-14 (13%), 14-16 (6%), over 16 (2%). Additionally, 38% of respondents don't think children should own a smartphone at all.
"While smartphones and tablets can present a number of risks if they aren't adequately protected, they can also help parents improve their children's safety in ways not previously possible," continued Patton. "Parents can prevent unsolicited communications with activity monitoring, make sure their children are where they're supposed to be with location tracking, and leverage a variety of other applications that enable them to keep their kids safe 24/7 – not just when they are by their side."
The full results of the survey are available from GFI upon request.
The survey coincides with the launch of GFI VIPRE® Mobile Security Premium, one of the most comprehensive mobile protection applications for AndroidTM phones and tablets (see GFI VIPRE® Mobile Security Premium Now Available for Android™ Devices). Combining advanced antivirus technology with lost device, activity monitoring and online backup features, GFI VIPRE Mobile Security Premium enables Android users to use their devices freely without having to worry about mobile viruses, identity theft, data loss or unsupervised activity.
GFI Software provides web and mail security, archiving and fax, networking and security software and hosted IT solutions for small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) via an extensive global partner community. GFI products are available either as on-premise solutions, in the cloud or as a hybrid of both delivery models. With award-winning technology, a competitive pricing strategy, and a strong focus on the unique requirements of SMEs, GFI satisfies the IT needs of organizations on a global scale. The company has offices in the United States, UK, Austria, Australia, Malta, Hong Kong, Philippines and Romania, which together support hundreds of thousands of installations worldwide. GFI is a channel-focused company with thousands of partners throughout the world and is also a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner.