Norton Survey reveals 1 in 2 Indians is a Victim of Mobile Phone Loss or Theft

Smartphones today have become an indispensable tool in our everyday life; as our primary way to communicate, work, share and collaborate.  A survey conducted by Norton reveals that 53 percent of adults in India have fallen victim to mobile phone loss or theft, but despite that, only two in five Indians currently have a password protecting their devices.  The imminent need for mobile protection is increasingly important with Indians having their phones lost/stolen an average of 1.5 times over the past five years.

Losing data, losing your temper

As annoying as it is to lose their mobile phones, 77 percent of victims considered the loss of contact information the worst part of the experience and also a huge inconvenience. In fact, Indian women would rather get a root canal and the men would rather drink stale milk than lose their mobile phones, the survey revealed. It is therefore not surprising that ‘anger’ was the single most dominant feeling expressed by victims of mobile theft.

Of the affected Indians, one in two was concerned about the exposure or loss of private information, with a whopping 74% noting that they could neither remotely lock nor wipe the phone’s memory after it was lost or stolen. This could account for 82 percent finding the process of resolving the situation difficult and 90 percent finding the experience stressful.

Feeling lost, asking for help

Not surprisingly, more than half of the victims said that they were willing to pay a ransom (an average of Rs. 3,692) to resolve the situation.  However, in reality victims end up paying nearly three times that amount (an average of Rs. 9,957) to resolve the situation. Despite this almost 3 in 10 Indians said that the situation was never resolved and in cases where it was resolved, 12% said that it took more than a week.

Getting help is not entirely straightforward either; despite high levels of inconvenience, adults feel that only a limited number of resources are available to help in such occasions. For most Indians, mobile providers are the main source of contact, followed by family and friends.

“The survey results are clear: mobile phone loss and theft is a significant issue for Indians today,” says Gaurav Kanwal, Country Sales Manager, India, Consumer Products and Solutions, Symantec. “As smartphones become more pervasive in our lives, there is a greater need to protect the data on such devices.  This is one of the reasons why Norton is taking security beyond the PC to develop solutions that protect consumers, regardless of the device they use.”

Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Better Safe Than Sorry

The study also found that Indians are more likely to have a password if they currently own a smartphone or have lost their mobile phone or had it stolen in the past.  Currently, only 42 percent of users in India have password-protected mobile phones – of which, 61 percent currently own a smartphone and another 50 percent were previously victims of mobile phone loss or theft.

On the whole, a significant number of Indians consider security factors before making a mobile phone purchase. Eighty percent of adults agreed that services such as locking, wiping and locating phones remotely are important; and the same percentage would be likely to purchase software providing such a service.

Protecting your privacy, securing your mobile phone

Indians have some of the highest confidence levels in the region with regard to the use of software services on their mobile phones. Six out of ten Indians are comfortable allowing software on their phones to identify their location, and a similar number are comfortable with online banking. With mobile phones becoming such a central device in the lives of consumers, it is important to protect these devices, especially the data that is stored on such devices.

Staying Protected With Norton Mobile Security

With an explosion in the number of mobile phones and the increasing reliance on smartphones, this means greater opportunity for cybercriminals.  Symantec has introduced Norton Mobile Security as part of the Norton Everywhere three-part initiative, which will address some of today’s most common issues for smartphones, including device loss and data protection.  Norton Mobile Security will allow users to locate and remotely wipe or lock their lost or stolen Android phones with a quick text message.   Consumers can currently download a free limited-trial beta version directly from the Android Market.

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