Aussie Open To Ransom Demands If Phone Stolen

  • Most would rather be punched in face by Beiber than lose phone
  • Most annoyed at inconvenience than actual theft
  • Over 50 percent happy to pay ransom for phone

Anew survey from security software specialist, Norton, reveals that 42 percent of consumers in Australia have fallen victim to mobile phone loss or theft and a minority of 41 percent have a password protecting their mobiles. 

As annoying as it is to lose their mobile phones, 48 percent of victims considered the loss of contact information and concerns over privacy the worst part of the experience and also a significant inconvenience. Frustration, anger and annoyance were the most common feelings Australian consumers experienced when their mobile phone was lost or stolen, likely because 77 percent could neither remotely lock nor remotely wipe their phone’s memory afterwards and over half of all mobile users did not password protect their phones. A majority of respondents contacted their mobile service provider to resolve the situation as the first step and reported that it cost an average of $197 to resolve.

More than half of the victims said that they were willing to pay a ransom (an average of $140) to resolve the situation. More often than not though, it is a case of “finders, keepers”, for lost and stolen mobile phones. Getting help may not entirely be straightforward either, with less than 10 percent of Australians agreeing that it is easy to get help to recover a stolen or lost mobile phone. Most agree that there are a limited number of resources available in such occasions, with 84 percent of consumers indicating that the experience was stressful.

The study also found that Australians are more likely to have a password if they currently own a smartphone or have lost their mobile phone or had it stolen in the past. Currently, 41 percent of users in Australia have password-protected mobile phones. However, a significant number of Australians consider security factors before making a mobile phone purchase, with 70 percent noting that they are more likely to make a purchase if their mobile device or software is able to be locked remotely and has the ability to erase all the data on their device remotely.

Australians are very cautious about allowing software applications to connect with wireless networks or identify their location. Just on 19 percent of consumers indicating they are comfortable allowing software applications that access their personal data.  Australians were also hesitant to make purchases and conduct online banking, on average only 25 percent felt secure conducting transactions online.  In China, confidence was much higher with over 60 percent of consumers comfortable with all forms of online purchasing, banking and app access on their mobiles.

Consumers are becoming more emotionally attached to their mobile phones. Interestingly, 37 percent of Australians would prefer to be punched in the face by Justin Beiber than lose their mobile phone. In India, Singapore and Japan consumers would rather lose their childhood photographs than their mobile and Chinese consumers would rather eat rotten eggs.With mobile phones becoming such a central device in the lives of consumers, it is important to protect these devices and the data that is stored on them.