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Smartphone owners' perception of their mobile privacy IQ doesn't match reality: Report

Lookout asked over 1,000 adult smartphone owners in the U.S. to determine their Mobile Privacy IQ. Then all the Mobile Privacy IQs were compared to obtain a better understanding of perception versus reality.

mobile phone
Credit: byryo

Do you take the necessary steps to keep the personal info on your phone private? Are you wise about guarding your privacy when it comes to your smartphone photos, contacts, emails and financial data? A new study by Lookout found that millennials, people age 18 – 35, think they are “privacy experts” yet they "partake in risky mobile behavior most often."

Lookout asked 1,012 adult smartphone owners in the U.S. to determine their Mobile Privacy IQ. Then all the Mobile Privacy IQs were compared to obtain a better understanding of perception versus reality.

Perception vs. Reality

When it comes to perception vs. reality, get ready to be knocked over as 41.3% of people in the study claim they have an “above average Mobile Privacy IQ,” but “nearly 1 in 10 smartphone owners have no awareness of the Snowden and NSA revelations!” What ginormous rock have they been living under?

Wow, some of those folks might be among the 5% of people who need a serious wakeup call as they claimed the U.S. government is “ultimately responsible” for keeping their personal data safe. It’s too bad, so sad if people don’t know about the NSA snooping scandal as that doesn’t guarantee their info isn’t being hoovered up and data-mined. Do you suppose that when told about NSA spying, those are the people whose response would fall in the “nothing to hide” category? 75% of respondents said me, myself and I, meaning you are ultimately responsible for keeping your personal data safe.

Lookout mobile privacy IQ study

Source: Lookout survey of 1,012 U.S. smartphone owners

35% of the people polled by Lookout claim they “excel in mobile privacy,” but they still connect to open or public Wi-Fi networks.

Of the smartphone owners who claim to be the most aware of risky mobile privacy behaviors:

  • 52% don’t read privacy policies before downloading a mobile app.
  • 34% don’t set a pin or passcode on their phone.
  • 35% download mobile apps from unofficial marketplaces.

Privacy concerns

High profile company data breaches topped the list at 86% of privacy-related current events that sparked the most concern; 75% responded mobile app data breaches were the most concerning and 73% said it was Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations.

Lookout mobile privacy IQ data

Source: Lookout survey of 1,012 U.S. smartphone owners

Although 44% of smartphone owners believe apps mishandle or misuse their private info, 1 in 3 would be willing to provide even more personal info to app companies so long as they can still use the apps to make their lives easier.

When it comes to privacy, users are most worried about the following mobile apps: 86% told Lookout that financial apps are most concerning; 85% said social networking apps; 82% said shopping apps; 78% were most worried about medical apps and 66% said communication apps.

Lookout survey privacy worries and risky business

Source: Lookout survey of 1,012 U.S. smartphone owners

Risky business

What do people care the least about protecting? 60% of people in the study said work data. 76% said they take the most steps to protect their own data, yet 76% also connect to public open Wi-Fi.

What are the top three risky behaviors smartphone users partake in? Lookout said:

  1. 76% connect to public or open Wi-Fi
  2. 61% visit unfamiliar websites
  3. 56% download mobile apps without bothering to read the app’s permissions

Lookout concluded:

Even in today’s BYOD-conscious world, the majority of respondents deprioritize protecting work data over all other forms and are least concerned with emails or contacts being leaked from their mobile devices.

The private info people protect

What personal info do people care the most about protecting? 74% were most concerned that account credentials would leak or be exposed; 42% said private photos and 38% said location data. “Following browser history, people are least concerned with contacts or emails being leaked or exposed.”

Just in case you didn’t know…Lookout states, “Privacy is fundamental to what we stand for.”

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