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Grow Your Business Security

Risky Business: Danger Lurks In Using 1 Smartphone for Business and Pleasure

If you use your smartphone for both business and personal purposes, you may be putting your business at risk, a new study suggests. The problem is caused by complacency among users of mobile devices when it comes to security.

This lackadaisical approach presents significant business risk because 84 percent of smartphone users conduct business and personal affairs using the same device. The crossover of business and personal usages means much more sensitive and confidential data is at risk and suggests that users keep their smartphones with them most of the time, the study showed.

The study, sponsored by security software firm AVG Technologies, revealed an alarming indifference to the many serious security risks associated with the storage and transmission of sensitive data on iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices.

Nearly nine out of ten of respondents were unaware that smartphone applications can transmit confidential payment information such as credit card details without the user’s knowledge or consent.

And 91 percent of respondents were unaware that financial applications for smartphones can be infected with specialized malware designed to steal credit card numbers and online banking credentials. Yet nearly one-third reported storing credit card and debit card information on their devices and 35 percent reported storing confidential work-related documents as well.

More than half of respondents didn’t know that failing to properly log off from a social network app could allow an imposter to post malicious details or change personal settings without their knowledge. Of those aware, 37 percent were unsure if their profiles had already been manipulated.

And nearly one-third of respondents was unaware that using one smartphone for both business and personal reasons can put business information at risk.

“The findings of this study signal what could be an overlooked security risk for organizations created by employees' use of smartphones,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, found of Ponemon Institute, which conducted the survey on behalf of AVG. “Organizations should make sure their security policies include guidance for the appropriate use of smartphones that are used for company purposes.”