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    Study: Half of users feel that they don’t have control over their smartphone

    Experts think that people don’t do enough to protect their devices

    A recent survey by the virtual private network provider NordVPN revealed that half of users don’t feel like they have control over the information stored on their smartphones. The problem with this is that devices usually collect and keep a lot of data about us — from sensitive information such as personal photos, contact information, and banking apps to people’s browsing, shopping habits, and even more. They virtually know everything about you.

    “Today, we use smartphones for everything we would do on our computers — video chat, shop online, transfer money, send pictures, sign documents, and many more,” explains Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN “However, many mobile users are still unaware of how risky some of the activities are, and how important it is to keep devices safe.”

    Different screen lock methods and their shortages

    The survey revealed that 49% of people prefer securing their phones with a PIN code. Entering a sequence of digits to unlock your phone is quick and simple. However, according to InfoSec experts’ study, 26% of all phones can easily be tracked with such simple digital passcodes as “1234”, “1111”, “123456”, “000000”, and others. Moreover, research shows that 10% don’t use any smartphone lock method, even though securing your phone with at least some kind of authentication might save you from fraudsters, eavesdroppers, or simple inconveniences.

    More than one-third (34%) of users prefer the fingerprint method, which is considered to be one of the fastest ways to secure your phone. Even though it’s a pretty secure lock, bypassing a fingerprint lock isn’t entirely impossible. Fingerprints can be stolen from photos and other sources, recreated even with just 3D printing, and then used to bypass biometric locks. As the Chinese X-Lab research team claims, it takes only 20 minutes to break a fingerprint lock with their methodology.

    1 in 4 people (25%) choose passwords. A password made up of numbers, letters, and special characters is more secure than a PIN or pattern. If you choose this locking method, aim for a password that contains letters, numbers, and special characters and make it at least 8 characters long. Be sure to memorize the password so you don’t get locked out of your phone if you accidentally forget it.

    Among other smartphone lock methods, 22% users use face recognition, 14% a pattern lock, and 6% a smart lock.

    “It’s always wise to choose a combination of several locking features to ensure complete safety. Different brands of smartphones also offer special features to bolster the security of their devices. Those include various levels of face or iris scans. Whichever smartphone lock method you choose, keep in mind that securing your phone now might save you from a headache in the future,” adds Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN.

    Which operating system is safer: iOS or Android?

    The study shows that the majority of respondents (64%) are users of the Android mobile operating system. Another system — iOS — is used by 31%. And here we run into the never-ending debate: is the iPhone more secure than Android?

    The answer is not that simple. While most phone hacks result from your negligence, the phone’s inbuilt security still helps. Apple closely inspects all apps for legitimacy, whereas Android’s open Play Store can easily allow hackers to thrive. However, if you need a more definitive conclusion, you can make one by looking at a features comparison.

    “As consumers increasingly use their mobile devices for various online activities, iOS and Android operating systems have become tempting targets for cyberthieves. A virtual private network such as NordVPN, which hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic, has iOS and Android apps that come with the Dark Web Monitor feature. It notifies users if their personal details ever get leaked on the dark web. So, you can feel more secure while using your smartphone,” comments Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert. 

    Methodology: Thesurvey was conducted by the NordVPN Research department for the period July26–August 2, 2021. The survey’s target group was residents of Australia, Canada, Netherlands, France and Spain over the age of 18. Quotas were placed on age, gender, and place of residence.

    ABOUT NORDVPN

    NordVPN is the world’s most advanced VPN service provider that is more security-oriented than most VPN services. It offers double VPN encryption, malware blocking, and Onion Over VPN. The product is very user-friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, has over 5,000 servers worldwide, and is P2P-friendly. One of the key features of NordVPN is the zero-log policy. For more information: nordvpn.com.

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