According to a new study by Norton, one in five online adults in South Africa have fallen victim to mobile cybercrime.
Norton by Symantec published new insights into consumers’ mobile use and behaviours, revealing that that nine out of ten online adults (93%) in the South Africa are mobile device users, of which a large majority (84%) are using them to access the Internet.
“People are relying more and more on their mobile phones and tablets to navigate, share, socialize and shop in today’s constantly-connected world,” said Kara Rawden, senior marketing manager, consumer – Middle East & Africa.
“What many consumers may not realise is exactly how much of their personal and private information is up for grabs should these devices be compromised, lost or stolen.”
The mobile phone celebrated its 40th birthday on Wednesday (3 April), with Martin Cooper, an engineer with Motorola, making the first call from a mobile phone on 3 April, 1973.
And as people expand their online lives through mobile devices, many are not taking steps to secure their device and the content it contains, warns Symantec.
It noted that 20% of mobile device users in South Africa admit to not always downloading applications from trustworthy source.
And, one in five indicated that they do not use secure payment methods when making purchases from their mobile device, leaving their sensitive information such as credit card details vulnerable.
In addition, more than one-quarter (28%), admitted to not using a password to help protect their personal data.
In the event of theft or loss, a wealth of personal information stored on the device can potentially be accessed including personal emails, a possible gateway to other sensitive information such as work correspondence and documents (64%), passwords for other online accounts (21%), and bank statements (42%).
The lack of precaution taken by mobile users can have unfortunate consequences for some: more than one in five mobile users in South Africa have fallen victim to mobile cybercrime.
“Consumers know how important it is to protect their computer from the wide range of threats they can encounter when online and off,” said Rawden.