UK smartphones least protected against online attacks

Kaspersky Lab study finds Britis are the least prepared for mobile web attacks

A European study has found that as smartphone usage continues to grow, Brits are the worst at protecting their handsets from online threats

As smartphones continue to rise in popularity, overtaking computers in terms of usage, the majority of smartphone owners in the UK are unaware of the security risks their pocket powerhouses pose, a new report has found.

With a recent YouGov study finding that 93 per cent of 25,000 questioned Europeans now own a smartphone compared with just 64 per cent who own a desktop computer, latest reports have suggested that with consumers now far more likely to turn to their handset in order to search the web, the UK is least prepared for mobile online attacks.

Despite 78 per cent of the public using their smartphones to browse the web, just 19% of Britons have anti-virus protection installed on their portable devices, the worst figure in Europe. On top of this, a further 52 per cent said that they were unaware such software existed, leaving them open to risks such as hacking, malware and viruses.

The study, taking in adults from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, were commissioned on behalf of security experts Kaspersky Lab.

Lee Sharrocks, the company's UK Sales and Marketing Director, commented: “Traditional desktop computers are slowly in decline as more people turn to their smartphone or tablet. This means device security has to be a priority.”

He added: “After all, they will only continue to increase in popularity and more functions, many of which were formerly available only on PCs, are being added all the time.”

Complete security packages, which also cover tablets and smartphones, are recommended to protect against potential data loss.

Are you a smartphone and tablet owner? Have you protected your portable devices against online attacks? Let us know via the T3 Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Words: Tom Parfitt