A recent study found that consumer awareness of Internet security has decreased, even as mobile Internet use continues to increase.
The study, which polled nearly 12,000 people in 27 countries, found only 58 percent of respondents said they understand how to use Internet security software, compared to 65 percent in 2013.
This number is particularly alarming considering consumers are using more Internet-connected devices on a regular basis, with the average household owning eight connected devices, according to Kaspersky. Unsurprisingly, most respondents said they use a mobile device as their go-to platform to access the Internet, with 57 percent of respondents saying they use their smartphone more than a computer or tablet.
And even though consumers seem to be less security-savvy than they were just a few years ago, the amount of concern surrounding web security has increased, Kaspersky said. About 57 percent of respondents said they worried about their own and their family’s online activity in 2015, which marks a three percent increase from 2013-2014.
While 93 percent of respondents said they have software to secure their Windows PCs against malware, the same cannot be said for tablets and smartphones, according to the study. Currently, only 32 percent of iPad users have some form of security solution installed on their device, with 26 percent of iPhone users having a security solution in place.
The number of Android tablets and smartphones boast a higher level of protection, with 65 percent of Android tablets and 60 percent of Android smartphones exhibiting some form of protection. Windows tablets and phones, meanwhile, are protected 83 percent and 44 percent of the time, respectively.
When asked why they didn’t have any means of security on their smartphones and tablets, respondents said they thought antivirus and Internet security software would slow down their devices or that software was too expensive. About 12 percent admitted they do not know what software to install or where they can get it from, Kaspersky said.
Kaspersky was quick to note the rapid increase of smartphones and tablets means hackers and other bad actors are more likely to target these devices than ever before. And when coupled with the notoriously poor security standards and means of protection exhibited by most device owners, many hackers undoubtedly see mobile devices as a gold mine for personal and financial data just waiting to be stolen.
“Connected devices – particularly smartphones – are increasingly used to manage online activities and store essential and private information, making these devices attractive to thieves and cyber-attackers,” said Elena Kharchenko, head of Consumer Product Management at Kaspersky Lab, in a statement. “As we continue to store more of our lives on multiple devices, it is vital that we take their security seriously.”
Of course, the company offers several solutions designed to protect connected devices, including its Kaspersky Internet Security Multi Device and Kaspersky Total Security Multi-Device solutions, but there are numerous other ways to protect yourself from cybertheft, including raising your general awareness about online threats.
And consumers aren’t the only ones who struggle to keep their devices safe – a recent study conducted by Dimensional Research and xMatters found only 52 percent of companies have a dedicated incident response team in place. Similarly, a study by Cybrary found a lack of required professional skills among security professionals is causing issues for companies looking to protect their assets.