Smart phones are fast replacing home computers for many daily online activities. But according to the latest Consumer Reports State of the Net survey, 39 percent of the more than 100 million American adult smart phone owners don't take even minimal security measures to protect their phone.
The survey projects that at least 7.1 million phones were irreparably damaged, lost, or stolen and not recovered in 2012.
Here are some examples of how few users protected their phones:
- 36 percent used a screen-lock of any kind (4 digits or stronger).
- 31 percent had backed-up their data, such as photos or contacts.
- 22 percent had installed software that could locate a missing phone.
- 7 percent had installed software that could erase the contents of a missing phone.
Other highlights from the survey findings include:
- Malicious software is a real threat to smart phones. Last year, 5.6 million users experienced symptoms of such software.
- Many users who wanted to turn off their phone's location-tracking feature to protect their privacy didn't know how to do so. For instructions on how to disable location tracking, as well as other phone security tips, Consumer Reports offers this video.
- Apps are often too intrusive. Roughly 48 million users had stopped installing an app last year because it requested too many privileges.