Kaspersky Labs warns social networks are dangerous territory for mobile users

Careless mobile users are leaving themselves exposed to hack attacks when accessing social networks, security company Kaspersky Labs warned.

The company revealed that mobile users are twice as likely to have had their social network account taken over by hackers than those using non-mobile devices. In a study of 11,135 people in 23 countries conducted between May and June, Kaspersky said 6 per cent reported that their social media account had been hacked, but that the figure for Android-based tablets was 13 per cent of respondents.

Kaspersky's research also found that 12 per cent of social network users are entering their user data while connected to public Wi-Fi networks, and that the majority (79 per cent) don't believe they are of interest to hackers. Just over a third (38 per cent) of respondents said they take precautions when using public Wi-Fi networks.

The security company's network data suggests users should be more wary. In 2013 the company blocked 600 million phishing attempts, some 35 per cent of which were imitation social networking sites.

Risks to web users vary by geography, with unauthorised access to social networks highest in China and Asia Pacific where 16 per cent of respondents reported a breach. Russia followed on 19 per cent, with North America next (4 per cent), then Japan (2 per cent).

Kaspersky's research also found that 27 per cent of users prefer to access the Internet on a mobile device, while nearly all users (92 per cent) store sensitive information on their mobile and other devices.

Despite noting risks to careless social network users, Kaspersky's research shows many mobile device users are taking steps to protect their personal data. The company found 67 per cent of smartphones were password protected, with 57 per cent of Android tablets also being secured in this way.

For more:
- view Kaspersky Labs press release
- see the full report [PDF]
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