According to Consumer Reports, 3.1 million smartphones were stolen in 2013, a significant increase from the 1.6 million smartphones thefts the previous year. Despite the tremendous growth in purloined smart devices , the same report found that most people are not following even the most basic of steps to protect data on mobile devices, such as turning on smartphone encryption.
There are a number of things that smart phone users can to do ensure that nothing more goes awry once they’re the victims of a theft.
Number of Missing Smart Phones Waaaay Up
In addition to the 3.1 million smart phones that were stolen, and additional 1.4 million were lost for a total of 4.5 million missing devices. Some may attribute this growth to an increase in people who are using smartphones…and they would be right.
According to a February 2014 mashable.com post, approximately 66% of US consumers own smartphones, an increase from 44% in 2011. Some rough calculations, and assuming a linear rate of growth, indicate that the growth of smart phone users from 2013 to 2014 is around 12%.
The increase of lost phones from 1.2 million to 1.4 million is 16%, which is roughly in line with the growth of smartphone users. However, the rate for stolen phones is nearly 94%. Obvious conclusion: thieves are out to get ya.
No Security Measures: 34%
In addition to the above stats, the Consumer Report findings show that:
- 34% did not use any security measures whatsoever
- 36% used a 4-digit PIN
- 11% used a PIN that’s “longer than 4 digits, a password, or unlock pattern”
- 7% user some other security feature, like encryption
Seeing how mobile device encryption is useless without a password, I take it that the 7% figure also includes some form of password aspect to it. In other words, a total of 54% of smartphone users are securing their devices with the most basic of data protection for mobile devices.
Unfortunately, it’s only the 7% of users who are fully protected, seeing how reading a smartphone’s contents only requires connecting it to a computer if encryption is not enabled on a smart phone (or a tablet, for that matter).
Still, the numbers show an improvement. When I read of a similar survey a year or so ago, I’m pretty sure the stats showed that about 25% or so were using passwords on their devices. Now, the number has doubled, meaning that people are definitely more aware of the potential problems of not securing their mobile devices.
As many smart phone TV ads note, these devices aren’t only part of your life, they hold your life. It’s in every person’s interest to be part of that group that’s using encryption to protect their device’s content.
Related Articles and Sites: