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Worry Less About Malware, More About Losing Your Phone

Posted by Craig H on 25 September 2009

There’s a very good article on the PC World Magazine site about the risks of mobile phone banking. The author, Eric Larkin, rightly suggests that the biggest risk is the physical one of losing your phone and someone finding information on it that could be used for identity fraud.

I don’t have good statistics on the number of mobile phones infected with malware yet, although I am in discussions with the GSM Association Security Group to see if we can publish some; still, I’m personally convinced it’s nowhere near “1 in 63”! Statistics on the theft of phones are easier to come by. In the UK, a 2009 report published by a government department states that 2% of mobile phone owners had their phones stolen in the 12 months covered by the survey – that’s 1 in 50. More people must surely have lost their phones by accidentally leaving them on trains, buses or in taxis, so physical loss of your phone does indeed seem to be the biggest risk.

The lesson? USE THE DEVICE LOCK ON YOUR PHONE! Yes, it’s a little bit of extra inconvenience, but it’s an important protection against identity fraud, which a lot of people are worrying about these days. There are step by step instructions for various devices here.

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