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Mobile Users Are Lax On Security: Survey

Even savvy mobile telecommunications users have been slow to use security technologies on their mobile devices, according to a survey of attendees at a trade show this week.

A survey of attendees at the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) Wireless IT and Entertainment conference in San Francisco suggests that even savvy mobile telecommunications users have been slow to use security technologies on their mobile devices.

The survey, conducted by Bluefire Security Technologies, Inc., found that, while most users are concerned about security, and while more than half their companies would invest more in mobile technology if these concerns were addressed, only 40% currently use mobile security tools. Indeed, some 44% of respondents said that, while they have concerns, neither they nor their companies have any immediate intentions to implement mobile security.

"Our survey of CTIA attendees should serve as a wake-up call for device manufacturers and telecommunications carriers, as well as users of mobile handheld devices," Bluefire COO Scott Schelle said in a statement. "Enterprises and individuals are relying on their devices for ever more sophisticated tasks, are signaling they want to buy more devices, and understand the security risks. But many are not taking concrete action to address those concerns and appear to be avoiding purchases as a result."

Security is a particularly pressing issue, since mobile and handheld devices are being increasingly used for applications that are particularly vulnerable to intrusion and viruses. Some 68% of respondents use their mobile devices to access the Web, 63% use instant messaging, and almost half use handhelds to check their e-mail.

With more than 65% of the companies surveyed select mobile devices for employee use in at least some circumstances, the Bluefire survey suggests that corporate decisions will be a key factor in the widespread implementation of mobile security. Some 70% of conference attendees surveyed said that the standard inclusion of security features on mobile devices would, in fact, encourage their deployment within their organizations.

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