Are Brits Being Smart About Smartphone Security?

New insights from Bacancy Technology have highlighted how 49% of British citizens either do not know whether their smartphone has security software installed, or know that they do not have measures installed at all.

These figures of 26 million unsecured Britons follow last week’s news of a Twitch data leak via the 4chan platform. Bacancy Technology analysed statistics drawn from ONS to discover that despite the variety and availability of security apps, a total of 49% of respondents may still remain at risk.

Data shows that one in three Brits (32%) are unaware of whether their smartphones have security software installed, while almost one in five (17%, or nine million adults) reported not having security software of any kind.

When asked “Do you have security software installed on your smartphone?”, respondents said:

All 16 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 65+
Automatically installed/provided with an operating system 40 39 46 36 44 37 38
Installed/subscribed 11 8 9 14 13 12 11
Do not have smartphone security 17 27 18 19 15 9 11
Don’t know 32 26 27 31 29 42 41

Further data shows that while half of the country’s adults may be at risk when it comes to the security of their mobile devices, most of the population are aware of the steps they can take to avoid having their personal data, online activities and location tracked – though many are still leaving themselves open to potentially harmful activity.

Three-quarters (75%) of the population of British adults are aware of the purpose of cookies, but only a third (32%) have changed their browser settings to prevent or limit them. Furthermore, only half of the population express concerns over giving their location to a site or app, and a lesser 45% of adults report checking the security of a website they had given personal data to.

Continuing this downward trend, only 42% of British adults over 16 (just under 23 million residents) limit access to their social media profile and content, and only one in three admit to reading privacy policy statements before providing personal data to an app or site.

When questioned on which online security measures they follow, respondents answered:

I am aware of how cookies could be used to track movements on the internet 75%
I have changed internet browser settings to prevent or limit cookies 32%
I have restricted or refused access to location 53%
I have checked the security of a website that personal data was provided to 45%
I have limited access to social media profile/content or shared online storage 42%
I have read privacy policy statements before providing personal data 36%

Commenting on the findings, Bacancy Technology told The Fintech Times: “Recent events in the news have highlighted the importance of maintaining security over our personal data and finances. Even so, it seems that while the British public are aware of the potential dangers of online activities, many are failing to take steps to adequately protect themselves and their loved ones. Digital security is of the utmost importance, and everyone with a smart device should take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.”

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.