Oracle Survey Says Consumers Uneasy About Mobile Security

In a survey of more 3,000 mobile phone subscribers worldwide, 68 percent were either unsure or convinced that data stored or transmitted by their mobile phones was unsecure, Oracle said in the study released Monday. As a result, only 21 percent of respondents said they would be “very comfortable” making a purchase with their mobile phone instead of a credit card or cash.

Despite the unease, consumers were increasingly using their phones for transactions. The percentage of people accessing online banking increased from 18 percent in a similar study last year to 28 percent this year, and the number of respondents making purchase online with mobile devices rose from 9 percent to 18 percent.

Consumers’ security jitters are justified, said Allen Allison, chief security officer for NaviSite, a provider of cloud management services. “The technology has come out much quicker than the ability to secure it." As a result, carriers and device makers are unlikely to be responsible for phone security. "It's always going to be up to each individual,” Allison says.

Technology has been evolving so fast that it has also outpaced consumers' expectations, according to Oracle. More than half of the respondents of last year's survey believed their mobile phone would replace their camera, MP3 player or GPS device within five years. In the latest study, 43 percent of the respondents had already replaced their camera with their phone, 34 percent their MP3 player and 24 percent their GPS device.

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In making their phones even more versatile, users are downloading apps. Fully, 55 percent of respondents had downloaded a free app and 25 percent had bought one, according to Oracle. While using their phones more, an increasing number of consumers have their eyes on a tablet. Fifty-seven percent of respondents either owned or planned to buy a tablet in the next 12 months.