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Half of Indians trade privacy for apps

News, 29 June 2016

NEW DELHI: Nearly one in two Indian smartphone and tablet users have allowed access to their contacts and mobile data in exchange for free apps, according to a new survey.

Symantec-Norton, the global cyber security firm, polled more than 1,000 mobile consumers aged 16+ and found a high degree of trust in India despite the potential risks.

On top of those who granted access to their mobile data, nearly 40% have allowed permission to access their camera, bookmarks and browser history, while close to 30% have granted permission to apps for tracking their geolocation.

Speaking to Indian newswire IANS, and reported by the Times of India, Norton country manager Ritesh Chopra, said humans can be "their own enemies".

"Nearly 65% of Indians now access the internet more often on a mobile device than on a personal computer. So consumers' usage behaviour is one of the major reasons why people in India are so vulnerable," he added.

He disclosed that nearly half of Indians now have more than 20 apps on their smartphones and tablets, but just 8% reject requests to access their data.

"And 36% of people grant the access to mobile data because the app they downloaded 'looked cool', regardless of its origin or reputation," Chopra warned.

According to the survey findings, the biggest security concerns for Indian mobile users are virus/malware attacks (34%), fraudulent access or misuse of financial details (21%) and the hacking or leaking of personal information (19%).

"People need to be educated about the attacks and how to secure themselves from the vulnerabilities," Chopra advised. "Consumers should use strong passwords and lock screen patterns. Also, use different passwords for different apps and change them often."

That advice is particularly relevant for more than half (52%) of the survey participants who believe their mobile wallets are threatened by social networking and e-commerce apps.

Data sourced from IANS, Times of India; additional content by Warc staff