US mobile users increasingly active but security education is lacking

PayPal and the National Cyber Security Alliance have released the results of a recent Zogby Poll illustrating trends, misunderstandings, and

PayPal and the National Cyber Security Alliance have released the results of a recent Zogby Poll illustrating trends, misunderstandings, and concerns around mobile security and commerce.

It is clear that US citizens are becoming increasingly more attached to their mobile phones and are actively using them to make purchases: one in four respondents saying that they make at least one purchase per day on their mobiles, while one in six say that they make at least 25% of all their purchases through the medium of mobile phones.

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This is all pretty progressive and shows that mobile really is working its way forward in payment method selection. On the flip side of the coin, however, the survey also reveals that individuals who are using their smartphones in this manner, or at least, considering doing so, are not yet comfortable with the security of their financial information on mobile devices, should they become stolen or lost and are not taking the appropriate steps to protect themselves from this vulnerability. For example, 63% do not know what financial information is stored on their smartphones and more than half have not enabled PIN codes for locking their devices.

According to Andy Steingruebl, Director of Ecosystem Security, PayPal: “Many users do not realize that location information can help detect and prevent fraudulent transactions. For example, if a transaction takes place in San Francisco and another one in Dallas a few minutes later, we can investigate for suspicious activity.” He also says that: “Mobile devices present unique security advantages including location information and biometric authentication. According to our survey, more than half of mobile consumers are comfortable using biometrics to authenticate themselves on mobile devices.”

What is important hereafter is for payment processors and e-merchants to inform customers about financial safety when purchasing on their smartphones. It is good practice for consumers and may lessen your own chargeback risks. Furthermore, when customers feel safe using their smartphones for online shopping, they will increase their mobile purchasing habits.

In support of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), PayPal and the NCSA propose common action steps for all internet users: STOP (to take safety and security precautions), THINK (about the consequences of your actions) and CONNECT (to enjoy the internet).

They also offer some helpful tips for mobile safety:

*Always activate a PIN code.

*Do software updates as they act against known risks.

*Only download apps from companies that you know and feel comfortable with: Unsafe apps may contain malware, created to steal financial information.

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*Enable “Find My Device” to help you find your phone if it gets lost or stolen, and lock it or wipe it clean remotely if you need to.

*Backup your mobile device regularly so that if you need to use a remote wipe feature, you have all the information you need stored for your convenience.


Image courtesy of Flickr








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