Half of Brits ‘couldn’t live’ without mobile, claims Kaspersky

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  • More than 55% of Brits would be devastated if anything happened to their mobile phone
  • A further 70% never turn off their phone
  • More than a quarter (26%) of people in the UK spend between five and 10 hours a day online
  • However, 47% of Brits don’t protect their mobile devices.

New research has revealed the depth of UK consumers’ attachment to their mobile phones – as well as their lack of awareness of how to protect their devices from a cyber attack.

Phones have evolved past texting, calling and playing Snake – they’ve now become a huge part of our lives, used for shopping, socialising and even work, as well as holding our precious memories. In fact, as people continue to depend more and more on their phones, smartphone separation anxiety is becoming an increasingly widespread problem. 

Nomophobia, shortened from ‘no mobile phone phobia’, describes a fear of not having your phone that’s so persistent and severe it affects daily life – and even sleep. But despite this growing dependency on mobile phones, research has found that UK consumers are somewhat negligent when it comes to protecting their devices.

According to Kaspersky , which commissioned the research, more than a quarter (26%) of Brits spend up to 10 hours a day online – and the longer they stay connected, the more they risk falling victim to cybercrime. Furthermore, over half (55%) of smartphone owners would be devastated if anything happened to their device, while 47% could not live without their phone.

A cortisol stress test, performed with two smartphone users as part of the campaign, actually showed that the stress levels of both participants were higher when they didn’t have access to their phones – compared to days when they did.

Notably, the study reveals that millennials are the generation most attached to their phones but are the least likely to protect them. More than 69% of millennials would be devastated if anything happened to their phone, compared to 55% of consumers overall. However, 38% of millennials have never even thought about protecting their mobile devices.

Says Alexis Conran, Times Radio host and presenter of The Joy of Techs:

“Our phones have become an essential part of living our lives to the full. And yet, we seem to have forgotten about their vulnerabilities. Mobile devices contain a potentially devastating amount of information about us, which is fast becoming the most valuable commodity in the world.

Kaspersky’s research shows that the most undertaken activities online by Brits, are email (61%), social media (60%) and online shopping (58%). All of these carry significant cyber threats, such as phishing, spyware and ransomware.

Adds David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky:

“It’s almost second nature to think of installing antivirus software on a laptop or desktop, but this research shows that the same isn’t true of smartphones or tablets. It’s important to ask: why aren’t consumers protecting these devices in the same way as they would their desktops or laptops?

“As mobile malware becomes more advanced, simply taking precautions to avoid being hacked is no longer enough. When protected with antivirus software, consumers can better defend their devices from potential attacks.” 

Chris Price
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