The fear of being without a phone is real

Opinion by Dan Raywood

It was former Spice Girl Melanie C who offered us the wise words: "I couldn't live without my phone, but you don't even have a home."

It was former Spice Girl Melanie C who offered us the wise words: “I couldn't live without my phone, but you don't even have a home.”

Now if Sporty Spice couldn't live without the smartphone, how would the rest of us? Some research I came across this week suggested that this could potentially be a 'life or death' situation for some people. According to research from McAfee and the Ponemon Institute among 439 organisations, 142,708 smartphones were reported missing in one year.

The research found that approximately 62 per cent of these were company-owned devices assigned to employees for business use, while 38 per cent were personally owned and used for business. Of the phones reported missing, only seven per cent were recovered.

The survey found that 13 per cent of the missing smartphones were lost in the workplace, 29 per cent while traveling and 47 per cent while employees were working away from the office. Employees were unsure where the remaining 11 per cent were lost.

Another survey of 1,000 people by SecurEnvoy found that 77 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds were 'nomophobic' – the fear of being without one's phone. It found that 68 per cent of the 25-34 age group felt this way, while the third most nomophobic were those aged 55 and over.

Andy Kemshall, CTO and co-founder of SecurEnvoy, said: “The first study into nomophobia, conducted four years ago, revealed that 53 per cent of people suffered from the condition, and our study reveals this has now risen to 66 per cent in the UK.”

The research also found that nearly half of those surveyed do not use any protection on their phone; 41 per cent use a four-pin access code, and ten per cent encrypt their device. A security-conscious three per cent use two-factor authentication.

“With 58 per cent of the respondents using at least one device for business use, this lack of security is a worrying trend that needs addressing,” Kemshall said.

The McAfee research also found that 60 per cent of the missing smartphones contained sensitive and confidential information, yet 57 per cent were not protected with available security features.

So what do you want, do you really really want? Firstly your phone, secondly to secure the information on it and, thirdly, well, best to get some authentication on it.


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