53 percent of Indian mobile phone users are victims of mobile theft

Despite these alarming statistics revealed by a Norton survey, only two in five Indians currently have a password protecting their devices.

With smartphones becoming an indispensable tool, the imminent need for mobile protection is increasingly important with Indians having their phones lost or stolen an average of 1.5 times over the past five years. This was revealed by a Norton Mobile Mobile Phone theftSurvey based on research conducted in January 2011 by The Leading Edge, an independent market research firm, on behalf of Symantec Corporation. The Leading Edge conducted an online survey among 500 adults, between the ages 18 and 54, within each of the following six markets: Singapore, India, Australia, China, Taiwan and Japan.

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 percent 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.

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 percent 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. As smartphones become more pervasive in our lives, there is a greater need to protect the data on such devices,” says Gaurav Kanwal, Country Sales Manager, India, Consumer Products and Solutions, Symantec.

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.

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.






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