Most smartphone, tablet owners not concerned with locking devices: report

Most smartphone, tablet owners not concerned with locking devices: report

Summary: Only 25 percent of smartphone owners use the auto-lock feature to protect their mobile devices, according to a new report.

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As the 2012 RSA Conference draws to a close on Friday, one of the most-talked about themes at the security expo was protecting mobile devices.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like most people have thought about it too much, whether it be for their personal or business gadgets. That can't be reassuring for skeptics of the bring-your-own-device movement.

A new report conducted by anti-malware company ESET and Harris Interactive illustrates the overall lack of company security policies that are in place to lock those devices down.

Here are a few examples:

  • Less than 10 percent of people currently using their own tablets for work have auto-locking enabled.
  • Only 25 percent of smartphone owners used auto-locking features.
  • Laptop owners did a bit better with one-third of users using auto-locking features.

Across the entire BYOD spectrum, the report found that encrypting company data is only happening on about one third of devices.

Overall, researchers found that less than half of all devices in the BYOD category are protected by the most basic of security measures.

There are many takeaway lessons here. The automatic reaction should not be to simply ban personal devices at work, but obviously some security education is needed here for employees at every level in the company.

ESET security researcher Cameron Camp added some very basic tips in the report, including just turning the auto-lock feature on with password protection.

"The cost of not taking these steps could be suffering the scariest kind of security breach, the kind that was easily preventable by basic BYOD security best practices," warned Camp.

More RSA 2012 coverage:

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets

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7 comments
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  • This is a surprise?

    Path of least resistence and easiest use.
    Unless forced or bit, most users will only do the minimun they have too.

    Human nature.
    rhonin
    • BYOD

      That's right....and that's the exact reason why BYOD will never work. You can't trust an end-user! The only way I see BYOD working is if MS can work WP8 into AD and force some low level policies to ensure passwords and encryption are set. At that point your Employer might as well supply the phone. Sorry Apple and Androoid but you don't have the guts or the pull to make this happen!
      Rob.sharp
    • I didn't know you could turn it off.

      My Apple mobile devices auto-lock when they sleep. Do you mean password protection perhaps?
      The Danger is Microsoft
      • Eh?

        In what way are they "locked" if you don't need a password to get into them?
        imipakker
  • Good news for theives?

    I do lock my gear, always, even at home. Who knows what non-sense the cats will try when my keyboard is left unattended. They tried dislodging the keyboard itself from my laptop once. So yes, I lock everything, all the time, when left unattended. Am I surprised to find 75% of people don't. No. The middle of the bell curve has never been known for their wisdom. Theives, of course, will make use of this carelessness to their own benefit, as always, so publicizing it MIGHT nudge a few less attentive users to be more careful. We'll have to wait and see.

    I wonder what percentage of car drivers lock their cars these days?
    draku.zeos
    • Cat Lock?

      We had a screen lock, but the password was exposed in the "hint", and taped to the screen.

      My son liked to click the mouse when he could just reach it, about two years old.
      ClarenceD
  • Dell's smartphone Dell xcd35

    Dell is also in the race of smartphones. His Dell XCD35 android based phone is also comes under the smartphone category.
    http://www.itvarnews.net/news/11757/dell-xcd35-android-phone.html
    itvar