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Study: When it comes to security, smartphone users aren’t very smart

Published Mar 25th, 2015 6:15PM EDT
Smartphone Privacy and Security
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Even though you may be familiar with how your smartphone works and the various security issues that threaten your privacy, chances are that if you’re also a millennial you also aren’t doing simple things to secure your data. At least that’s what a study from security firm Lookout seen by the LA Times seems to indicate.

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After surveying more than 1,000 smartphone users, the company found that more than 52% of those who claimed to be security savvy did not even read privacy policies before downloading mobile apps.

More disturbingly, 34% of them did not even set up a lock screen PIN or password to protect their devices, and 35% downloaded apps from untrusted sources.

Lookout reveals that users who say they’re privacy experts are more likely to show risky mobile behavior, including using unsecured Wi-Fi networks, visiting unfamiliar sites on their devices, and plugging their devices into public charging stations.

“Mobile devices are small but mighty,” Lookout mobile safety advocate Cherie Gatson told the publication. “[But] because these devices fit in our back pockets, we sometimes forget that they carry immense amounts of highly sensitive data.”

She continued, “It’s important to understand that once any device has the ability to store confidential or personal data, there’s now an incentive for cyber criminals to target it.”

Gatson further added that mobile devices have become the predominant computing platform, and as a result they require similar protection as PCs.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.