October 09, 2013

Consumers are conducting more mobile commerce transactions than ever, but are still not taking basic steps to ensure security on their smartphones, a survey released today by PayPal and the National Cyber Security Alliance found. But consumers did show an interest in the survey in using biomtric authentication for securing their phones.

The survey of more than 1,000 American consumers, which was conducted by Zogby, showed that more than 25% of them use their mobile phone to conduct shopping transactions on a daily basis. “More people are doing more mobile transactions, and there are more mobile devices out there. And more websites are becoming more mobile friendly,” Andy Steingruebl, PayPal’s director of ecosystem security said about the findings.

Despite the increased number of mobile transactions, the survey respondents often failed to take measures to secure their mobile devices. For instance, the study discovered that more than half of the respondents didn’t lock their mobile phone with a PIN.

[See Related: Employee Training: The Key to Security in Enterprise Mobility]

More than half of the consumers surveyed also expressed interest in using fingerprint biometric authentication instead of passwords for mobile security, the survey found. Using biometric authentication is gaining in popularity because it is perceived that it will be more convenient than passwords, Steingruebl said. “Biometric technologies are becoming more familiar to consumers… and the idea that they will be easier to use will be a huge driver for adoption,” he predicted.

Beyond fingerprint biometrics, 45% of the respondents said they’d be comfortable using retinal scans for biometric authentication, and 41% said they’ be comfortable with photo identification technology.

However, Steingruebl insisted that even with the growing presence o biometric authentication in mobile security, it is still important for customers to take other steps for securing their phones. Customers should still activate a PIN to lock their phone, automate software updates on their phones, enable find your device features for when a phone is lost or stolen and back up their info regularly, he advised.

It is up to companies participating in the mobile market to work together to help make security part of the experience for mobile users so it is more convenient for them to take those steps, Steingruebl added. “We are collaborating with the handset makers so they make their experience encouraging of taking security into account,” he shared. “No one can do [mobile security] by themselves.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Camhi is a graduate of the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, where he focused on international reporting and interned at the Hindustan Times in Delhi, ...