New study reveals greater awareness needed for Middle East and North Africa mobile users to avoid falling victim to cybercrime

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2 in 5 mobile users in MENA have fallen victim to mobile cybercrime, says new study

New study by Norton from Symantec has revealed that due to lack of awareness, 2 in 5 mobile users in the Middle East and North Africa have fallen victim to cybercrime.
A new study by Norton from Symantec has revealed that due to lack of awareness, 2 in 5 mobile users in the Middle East and North Africa have fallen victim to cybercrime. Photo-Gilderic

The lack of precautions by mobile users can have unfortunate consequences for some: close to two-in-five mobile users in the Middle East and Africa have fallen victim to mobile cybercrime, a new study Norton by Symantec study has shown.

Nearly nine out of ten online adults (87%) in the Middle East and Africa are mobile device users, of which a large majority (78%) are using them to access the Internet — according to the study which provided new insight into Middle Eastern and African consumer mobile use and behaviour, revealing that adults rely on their mobile devices more than ever, yet few are taking the necessary precautions to keep their devices and content safe and secure.

The 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, September 2012, defines mobile cybercrime as follows:

  • responding to an unsolicited SMS text message which captured personal details
  • phone was infected and sent a text message without the user’s permission or knowledge which he/she later had to pay for
  • another type of cybercrime on a cell / mobile phone / tablet device

Consumers in the Middle East and Africa are now living various aspects of their work, social and online lives through their mobile devices, from surfing online to downloading apps, shopping and making payments from their mobile device.

“People are relying more and more on their mobile phones and tablets to navigate, share, socialize and shop in today’s constantly-connected world. What many consumers may not realise is exactly how much of their personal and private information is up for grabs should these devices be compromised, lost or stolen. Considering the sensitive nature of data that is accessible from personal mobile devices, consumers need to take some basic, yet easy, precautions to protect it from falling into the wrong hands.” – Tamim Taufiq, Head of Consumer Sales MENA for Symantec.

Yet as people expand their online lives through the use of mobile devices, many are not taking steps to secure their device and the content it contains, specifically; Nearly one-in-four mobile device users in the Middle East and Africa admit to not always downloading applications from trustworthy sources. Close to three-in-ten (29%) indicate that they do not use secure payment methods when making purchases from their mobile device, leaving their sensitive information such as credit card details vulnerable.

In addition, more than one-quarter (28%), admitted to not using a password to help protect their personal data. In the event of theft or loss, a treasure trove of personal information stored on the device can potentially be accessed including personal emails, a possible gateway to other sensitive information such as work correspondence and documents (54%), passwords for other online accounts (20%), and bank statements (33%).

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