Smartphone Owners Concerned and In the Dark About Mobile Security

NQ Mobile and NCSA Consumer Survey Shows That Most Worry about Phone or Passwords Falling Into the Wrong Hands

Jan 25, 2012, 08:00 ET from NetQin Mobile Inc.

SAN JOSE, Calif. and WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- In support of Data Privacy Day 2012, NQ Mobile, the international brand of NetQin Mobile, Inc., (NYSE: NQ), a leading provider of consumer-centric mobile security and productivity applications, and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a non-profit public-private partnership focused on cybersecurity awareness and education for all digital citizens, today released the results of a new survey of consumer attitudes and behaviors towards mobile privacy and security.

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The online survey of 1,158 smartphone-owning consumers conducted in December 2011, showed that while almost three-fourths of American consumers are aware of – and concerned about – security threats to their smartphones, they aren't always taking active measures to protect their mobile lives. People are especially concerned about the personal information they keep on their phones, with nine out of ten aware that smartphones contain personal information, and 81% concerned about that fact. Interestingly, men tend to be more aware of the security threats and issues related to owning a smartphone, but women tend to be more concerned about threats and privacy issues.

When it comes to specific security threats, every potential threat evoked concern, but 78% of smartphone users are particularly concerned about their lost or stolen phone falling into the wrong hands and its contents being misused (78% concerned). Users were most concerned about losing their password data (67% concerned), but would be most willing to add security to protect the banking and other financial data on their phone. Users are least willing to add security to protect their photos and videos.

On the emerging issue of location data tracking:

  • Users are about evenly split on being concerned about protecting the privacy of their location when using their phones.
  • Half (50%) report that they know how to turn off or set permissions for location tracking, though just 38% know how to disable geotagging, which is the storage of location based data, in the form of Latitude and Longitude inside of images.
  • Almost all phone users (95%) believe that at least one entity can track their location while their phone is on, though which entities users believe can do this varies widely.
  • A very strong majority (87%) believe that carriers can track their location when their phone is on, followed by hackers (57%) and legitimate apps (54%). One-fourth (24%) believe that data aggregators can track their location.

While 70% of smartphone users said they had some type of security or security software on their phone, just half of smartphone users actually could identify what type of security they have. More than half (58%) of smartphone users report they don't know enough about mobile security to decide whether they need it or not, and a majority of those who do not have any security features/software on their smartphones don't have them because of a lack of awareness or complacency – and this is not surprising, given that just 7% of smartphone users were offered information about the need for security for their phone at the time of purchase.

"It's clear that smartphone users take protecting their data and privacy seriously, but they don't feel they know enough about how to keep their mobile devices safe," said NQ Mobile co-Chief Executive Officer Omar Khan. "As the leader in helping people secure their mobile lives, NQ Mobile believes there is an obligation for the entire mobile industry to ensure that consumers understand that real threats exist and how they can protect their personal information and privacy."

"The mobile smartphone has truly arrived in American society," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "Consumers of all ages, incomes and education levels are using their smartphones every day for a wide variety of activities, ranging from taking photos and sending texts and emails, to playing games, accessing social media, and conducting banking. Smartphones can be convenient, fun and useful – but they also collect personal information that can be hacked, lost or misused. That is why we encourage all digital citizens to take an active role in learning safe practices and behaviors, and follow three simple steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT."

NQ Mobile, a proud partner of Data Privacy Day 2012, and the NCSA will be sharing further information about the consumer survey and ways consumers can protect their mobile lives during Data Privacy Day 2012 (January 28) and the events that support it. Information about Data Privacy Day can be found at  For additional information about the survey, and to view a full copy of the survey report, please visit NQ Mobile's blog at

Smartphone owners surveyed included 500 parents, 19% of whom have children who also own a smartphone. Later this year, NQ Mobile and NCSA plan to announce further findings regarding how parents view smartphone security and parental controls software.

About NQ Mobile NQ Mobile (NYSE: NQ) is the international brand of NetQin Mobile, a leading global provider of consumer-centric mobile Internet services focusing on security and productivity. The company was one of the first to recognize the growing security threats targeting smartphone users and is now a leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider with over 120 million registered user accounts worldwide. As a market leader in mobile security, NQ Mobile's innovation and global significance have been widely recognized through distinctions such as the 2011 Technology Pioneer Award bestowed by the World Economic Forum. For more information on NQ Mobile, please visit

About The National Cyber Security Alliance The National Cyber Security Alliance is a non-profit organization. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors, the mission of the NCSA is to empower a digital citizenry to use the Internet securely and safely protecting themselves and the technology they use and the digital assets we all share. NCSA works to create a culture of cyber security and safety through education and awareness activities. NCSA board members include: ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, Cisco Systems, EMC Corporation, ESET, Facebook, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Google, Intel, Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services, McAfee, Microsoft, PayPal, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Symantec, Verizon and Visa. Visit for more information and join us on Facebook at

SOURCE NetQin Mobile Inc.