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  • 26 February 2013 14:17

New AVG Study Reveals 25% of People Store Intimate Images On Their Mobile Device

AVG Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG) has released a study* which reveals that one in four average mobile users stores intimate photos or videos on a smartphone or tablet. Furthermore – and despite the obvious risks to personal privacy if a device is lost or compromised –70 per cent of consumers are unaware of security features that allow such data to be deleted remotely.

Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG Technologies AU, said: “Clearly, consumers are embracing the photographic and video capabilities of their devices, however, the mobile survey also revealed a marked conservatism among consumers when it comes to more practical, everyday features.”

For example, among the 5,000 smartphone users questioned in the UK, US, France, Germany and Brazil, fewer than 40 per cent use their device for either online shopping (35 per cent) or online banking (38 per cent).

The primary reason given by those holding back from using their device to shop online was a perceived lack of security – nearly 50 per cent of smartphone users feel that using a mobile device isn’t as safe or secure as using a computer. Similarly, only 36 per cent would consider checking their bank balance from a smartphone, compared to 78 per cent when using a PC.

“This survey has clearly demonstrated that there is confusion in the minds of consumers about what is and isn’t safe or sensible to do with a mobile device,” said JR Smith, CEO of AVG Technologies. “It is already limiting the appeal of mobile shopping, banking and ticketing, and this is in turn hampering the industry’s efforts to drive innovation and new monetisation methods. At the same time, millions of consumers are exposing themselves to risk of personal and professional embarrassment by storing sensitive images on their devices.

“It is time for the industry to wake up and start educating consumers about privacy and security,” Smith continued. “If it does not, mainstream consumers will remain sceptical about mobile commerce, potentially wasting billions of dollars of investment into new features, and the manufacturers, networks and developers will face the wrath of wronged consumers when their digital privacy is compromised.”

Key Findings

• 80% of consumers are unaware of the risks posed by malware

• 25% of consumers store intimate or very personal photos on their mobile devices

• 70% of consumers are unaware of the security threats posed by public WiFi, yet this doesn’t change consumer use of public WiFi

• Nearly 90% of consumers avoid using public WiFi when banking online

• Only 40% of respondents use their device for either online shopping (35%) or online banking (38%)

In conclusion these results indicate that consumers need to be educated on the importance of mobile security, and importantly act on this education.

MEF Global Privacy Report

A separate Global Privacy Report from MEF**, spoed by AVG, reveals consumer attitudes towards the use of their personal information by mobile app providers.

The explosion of the apps ecosystem is driven by new business models where many apps are free or heavily discounted which, of course, consumers love, but this is where developers monetise the information they collect on their users.

The report identified:

• Only a third of consumers (37%) are comfortable sharing personal data with an app.

• The majority of consumers consider it important to know when an app is gathering (70%) and sharing (71%) their personal information.

• Perceptions are that security around data is robust with only 18% stating they are not confident that their personal information is being protected.

• Females and older consumers (over 35s) are more likely to have concerns over privacy.

• Growth markets - including Brazil, Mexico and South Africa - are least comfortable sharing personal information.

Andrew Bud, MEF Global Chair, said: “Two main themes emerge from the research: consumers demand transparency when apps are sharing their data, and importantly the app community needs to do a better job of explaining to consumers why it’s in their interests to do so.”

Commenting on the report, Michael McKKinnon said: “The report really packs a punch for all those who have a stake in the future of the mobile app market and delivers a stark message, but one that is also filled with opportunity. In essence the report outlines the dichotomy of where consumers think they are in terms of controlling what data they share with apps, and the reality of where they actually are, and how much control they really have.

“The mobile app business is the business of Big Data. We already know how highly our advertising and e-commerce partners value data. This survey shows us just how valuable it is to consumers as well.”

# # #

Further Methodology Information:

*An online survey of 5,107 smartphone users was undertaken across the UK, US, France, Germany and Brazil on behalf of AVG Technologies. Fieldwork took place in January 2013 and was managed by Qualtrics.

**In a separate report, MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce, conducted its first Global Privacy Report of 9,500 respondents in 10 countries to find out consumer attitudes towards the use of their personal information by mobile app providers. The countries surveyed were: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UK and USA.

The report, supported by AVG Technologies, was carried out in partnership with mobile specialists On Device Research to understand global consumer understanding and perceptions of apps that gather and use personal data such as address book information and location.

About AVG — www.avg.com.au

AVG Technologies’ mission is to simplify, optimise and secure the Internet experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG’s powerful yet easy-to-use software and online services put users in control of their Internet experience. By choosing AVG’s software and services, users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown its user base to 146 million active users as of 31 December 2012 and offers a product portfolio that targets the consumer and small business markets and includes Internet security, PC performance optimisation, online backup, mobile security and identity protection.

AVG Media Contacts:

Michael McKinnon AVG 03 9581 0845 mmckinnon@avg.com.au

Shuna Boyd BoydPR 02 9418 8100 shuna@boydpr.com.au

Keep in touch with AVG • For breaking news, follow AVG on Twitter at twitter.com/avgaunz • Join our Facebook community at www.facebook.com/avgaunz • For security trends, analysis, follow the AVG blog at resources.avg.com.au

Media resources, including logos, box shots, screen shots etc., are available online at: http://www.avg.com.au/media/

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