CTIA: Consumers Taking Mobile Security More Seriously

The association says that more than three-quarters of consumers surveyed now put a passcode on their devices, and many are taking steps to secure their devices from threats both online and offline.

A few years ago, the telecom group CTIA had a major problem on its hands—mobile devices were major targets of theft, due to their inherent value on the black market.

This led to efforts like adding kill switches to devices, which came about in 2014 as the result of a little back and forth between the industry group and the Federal Communications Commission.

But a lot has changed in the past few years, and CTIA says that’s good news for the mobile industry. Last week, CTIA released a survey showing that consumer awareness of the need for mobile security was at an all-time high.

In particular, the group noted that more than three-quarters of respondents (77 percent) used a PIN or password on their smartphone, an increase of more than 50 percent in the past five years.

Additionally, nearly half of Americans use antivirus programs on their smartphones, and nearly 60 percent use tools that can remotely lock or erase their phones if necessary—in both cases, a huge jump from five years ago.

John Marinho, CTIA’s vice president of technology & cybersecurity, credited the industry’s efforts at educating the public for the recent improvements on these fronts.

“The wireless industry continues to educate mobile consumers on the importance of good cybersecurity practices, and these survey results show that more Americans are taking action to protect their personal information,” Marinho emphasized in a news release. “As cyber threats continue to evolve, the wireless industry will continue to provide consumers with the tools and knowledge to protect their mobile devices.”

The association, which has launched a series of resources around phone security in recent years, including the Stolen Phone Checker,  also offers tips for the public on its website. These address different kinds of devices—both common ones like Android and iOS, and more obscure ones like Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Phone.

(lucentius/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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