- Security TWENTY
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Almost one in four of the 50 million mobile device users in the UK do not password protect their devices. This suggests they are not as tech literate as they clai – according to new research commissioned by Experian CreditExpert to mark National Identity Fraud Prevention Month.
Over two thousand (2,033) UK mobile device users were surveyed. While 73 per cent claimed to be tech literate, only 37pc of respondents have a passcode or PIN on all mobile devices, and 27pc on some devices. And 43pc of those that do have passcodes/PINs shared them with family, friends or colleagues;
Only 17pc of mobile device users always accept security updates that are sent to their mobile device, such as OS updates, potentially leaving their personal information at risk should their devices become compromised. A third (36.3pc) do not ask anyone for security tips or support when using a mobile device.
The Technology Security IQ (TSIQ) research suggested that a third cite that it is social networking activities which worry them most with regards to other people getting access to their personal information, yet many of them reveal information through these channels that could be used to commit online identity fraud or theft:
One in ten say that ‘everyone’ can view their social media account and they have no privacy settings in place;
When it comes to sharing personal information, 13.6pc list their email address and one in four reveal their date of birth on their social media profiles;
13.5pc of respondents have accepted a friend request on Facebook from someone they don’t know, giving strangers access to the personal information they publish on their wall. This figure rose to over a fifth (22pc) amongst 25-35 year olds and almost a third (29pc) amongst 16 to 24 year olds;
Six pc ‘check in’ their location on social media, letting potential criminals know their house is empty. This number doubles (12pc) amongst 16 to 24 year olds.
Peter Turner, Managing Director of Experian Consumer Services UK&I, said: “The convenience of being able to live our lives on the go through mobile devices is empowering, but means that we share more of our personal information, which forms our online identity and therefore brings the risks of ID fraud. Our research shows that individuals still take quite a few risks when it comes to using their personal and financial details online.
“The number of identity fraud cases is constantly increasing – Experian’s Victims of Fraud team has seen a staggering 33pc increase in the number of fraud incidents investigated in the last year. We should continue enjoying our convenient life on the go, but need to remember that our mobile device is no different to our home computer or laptop.”
What can happen when your guard is down…
The Real Hustle’s Paul Wilson, set aside his knowledge of keeping safe online to show what can happen when our guard is down. He undertook a number of challenges in an ‘Identity Trail’ across London using a new mobile device. Paul was fully aware that this experiment would enable Experian Consumer Services to look for and identify any weaknesses in his unguarded online behaviour, reveal them and see what a fraudster might potentially be able to discover.
The experiment demonstrated a number of ways users can be exploited when in a rush, making basic security mistakes that leave us exposed to phishing, credit card details capture, personal account mediation. A professional security consultant tracked Paul throughout the day and was able to log his usernames, passwords web sites visited, and read his e-mails. Paul’s payment card details were also captured when he tried to make online purchases as part of the Identity Trail.
Paul Wilson, TV presenter on The Real Hustle, said: “Today we showed what can happen if you let your guard down – this is what happens when we are in a hurry. In terms of protecting our identity, the most common mistake we make is not to pay attention when we should, especially when we are accessing something online or using an unknown source like a free WiFi spot. You shouldn’t walk around paranoid, you should enjoy the convenience of modern life; just take some precautions.”
Peter Turner added: “Last year it took people an average of 444 days to discover they had become a victim of identity fraud so live your life on the go with care: think about how you secure your devices and share information online. With the advent of web monitoring services, consumers can be instantly alerted if their personal details are being used or misused online so that they can take steps to identify and stop any suspicious activity before they become a victim of identity fraud.”
Protection from ID fraud
Use different strong passwords – different online accounts such as emails, banking, shopping and social networks
Protect your mobile devices with a Pincode lock – every mobile device offers this facility. It’s simple to use and adds extra peace of mind if you tend to leave your mobile device in public display
Remember that open Wi-Fi hotspots are riskier than private networks so be conscious of the information you access via mobile networks
Check your device’s geo-location settings – understand which applications have access to your geo-location information, how it is being used and shared
If in doubt, don’t click. Online is now second nature to many people. But don’t let that give you a false sense of security. If a website looks dubious, an online offer too good to be true, or an email with its subject line and content conflicting with what your bank would normally send you, don’t click. Check online to see if other people have encountered what might be a scam or virus, and contact your friend or bank to see if the email is legitimate.
Know where your details go. If personal information falls into the wrong hands, within minutes, the data can be used to access your accounts, and can be bought and sold in underground forums around the world.