News & Comment: Internet access households and individuals, Great Britain – Office for National Statistics

Internet access – households and individuals, Great Britain – Office for National Statistics

NEWS: Internet access in Great Britain, including how many people have internet, how they access it and what they use it to do. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) published its latest bulletin finding that 26% of adults in Great Britain who use smartphones did not have smartphone security and a further 24% did not know if they have security installed.

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COMMENT:

Terry Ray, CTO of Imperva:

“Technically, just having a password on your phone could be construed as smartphone security.  There are smartphone users that consider a password, thumbprint or facial recognition security enough, and then there are those who would look for additional software controls that monitor the phone’s internal activity as evidence of smartphone security.

“I’ve mentioned before, during the iPhone X facial recognition debates last year that a directed threat against an individual’s phone is very low.  I don’t anticipate waves of thieves stealing phones in the hopes of finding something.  The exception, is if you’re a celebrity, politician, or in a position that could be compromised by data on your phone.  Then, yes, you may be subjected to a targeted attack.

“However, for the rest of us, your bigger concern is malicious software that allows attackers to broadly attack multiple phones indiscriminately.  This software usually allows attackers to access your camera, pictures, e-mails and more importantly can track your key strokes – i.e. watch you type your passwords.

“The threat to a phone is similar to that of your computer, in that you may enter banking details, social media credentials, or anything else useful or fun to use, or sell by attackers.  The percentage of users that fail to have preventative software installed would be significantly higher than 24%.  This isn’t overly critical yet, as there are only a small number of attack tools at the moment, and application stores are currently taking ownership of preventing user threats to these. For example, Apple has been very selective with what they will allow iPhone users to download and install from their app store, and they have had very few incidents.  Some of the other phone vendors open their stores up such that users have more freedom to download and install far more software with arguably less oversight.  That open policy provides more flexibility to install whatever a user wants, but also introduces an opportunity for attackers and a greater need for individual security controls on your phone.”

 

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