With a high smartphone penetration rate, mobile phone is an integral part of UAE residents’ lives as they use it for banking, shopping and communication. However, a recent survey indicated that these users do not prioritize device safety as they should.
According to a study conducted by Kaspersky, only 53% of UAE users password-protected their phones and just 14% encrypted their devices to avoid unauthorized access of their data. Such behavior could have long lasting impact as all data including pictures, video and other files could fall into the wrong hands.
Additionally, UAE mobile users are also lax in backing up data. Less than half of users make back up of their data, leaving them at a high risk of losing the information stored in their phones.
The findings come as the UAE users become all the more dependent on their phones. Over a third (41%) of people use their smartphone for online banking while 65% of people regularly use their smartphone for accessing their personal email accounts. Almost 66% say they use it for social media activities, potentially involving a huge quantity of sensitive data.
“We all love our connected devices because they give us access to vital information, from anywhere at any time,” said Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab. “They are valuable items that criminals naturally want to get their hands on, and their job is made easier by the fact that every other pickpocketed phone is not password protected.”
Mobile security is continually under spotlight as trends such as Bring-Your-Own-Device and remote working became prominent.
A 2015 study by Aruba Networks put the UAE among the top 5 countries that are at a risk for cyber attacks through mobile devices. The survey noted that the unsafe behavior of UAE mobile users was the main reason for the enhanced cyber security risk.