Awareness of Mobile Device Security: A Survey of User's Attitudes

Awareness of Mobile Device Security: A Survey of User's Attitudes

Nathan Clarke (Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK), Jane Symes (Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK), Hataichanok Saevanee (Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK) and Steve Furnell (Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/IJMCMC.2016010102
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Mobile devices have become a ubiquitous technology that are also inherently intertwined with modern society. They have enabled a revolution of how people engage and interact with technology, computing and the Internet. However, as their popularity has increased, so have the threats against them. The paper presents the findings of a survey undertaken to examine users' attitudes and opinions towards security for their mobile device. The results are based upon a respondent population of 301 and show a pattern of users being concerned about security for their device (68%), wanting additional security (63%), yet not engaging with the security they are provided with. Only 54% of respondents utilise a PIN for authentication against a backdrop of 46% of respondents experiencing some form of security breach. Interestingly, the results do show a preference for security to be preinstalled and activated out-of-the-box (84%), placing a responsibility on network operators and/or manufacturers to provide sufficient controls.
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2. Survey Methodology And Demographics

The survey examined levels of user awareness and attitudes towards mobile phone security together with current practices and perceptions towards future security features. A quantitative research methodology was devised in order to maximise the respondent rate. Whilst this has the disadvantage of restricting the wealth of information to be gathered from respondents, it does tend to result in higher levels of participation. Previous qualitative-based research in this area has resulted in smaller populations (n=60) and required a significant budget to encourage participation (Chin et al., 2012). With a sample population of 301 participants, the study was conducted over a three-month period (ending in June 2011), recruiting respondents via email and webpage hyperlinks. Access to the survey was purposefully left open with a single stipulation that the respondents had to have used a mobile handset.

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