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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

McAfee Research on Mobile Safety

Over the last few months I have written a number of articles about mobile banking security - including the following:
* Discussion about Mobile Banking Security at a Feverish Pitch
* Mobile Banking & Security
* Mobile Banking Security and Antivirus Protection
* Mobile Banking Security - Phishing for Answers?

While I have covered the topic from a number of angles it’s one that I’ll continue to address because it is undoubtedly the single most important component of the solution.

So…yesterday I received an article from McAfee on the topic of security and there are a couple of points that really caught my attention and are worth highlighting. Under the heading “Other Key Findings” McAfee revealed that:

* At least 79% of consumers are knowingly using unprotected devices, with an additional 15% unsure of security levels

* More than half of subscribers (59%) expect mobile operators to take primary responsibility for protecting mobile devices and services

The first point is not surprising. In fact, it’s probably safe to add the two groups together and say that 94% of consumers are using unprotected devices. Yet, I’d venture to say that people aren’t protecting their devices primarily because they’re only using them to make phone calls or send text messages. A quick Google search revealed a report from Forrester stating that, “Ninety percent of online consumers report using antivirus software on the computer they use most frequently.” Illustrating that I think consumers understand the importance. The number I’d like to measure is, “what percentage of people that currently use mobile banking are using an unprotected device?”

In reference to the second point, I’m very surprised to learn that consumers expect the operators to shoulder this responsibility. This would be the equivalent of expecting your home broadband provider to protect your home PC. Again referencing the report above, consumers understand that they're responsible and clearly take steps to protect themselves. The only explanation I could think of is that the question might have skewed the results. I can see where an argument could be made that the carrier has the “primary” responsibility to protect the “service.”

Click here to read the full article >>

1 comment:

Mark McSpadden said...


Thanks for paying so much attention to mobile security. It's definitely an important but under-hyped piece of FIs going mobile.

Honestly, I'm not that surprised by consumers expecting carriers to shoulder the responsibility for security. For so long, mobile carriers have tied their devices and services so closely that many people don't know where one ends and the other begins.

To re-frame your PC/ISP scenario: If I had to switch computers every time I switched broadband providers (and only had certain computers to choose from) would my view of personal computer security be different?