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Few UK smartphone users realise the value of basic handset security

Smartphone users in the UK are failing to act on the security front, and leaving themselves more vulnerable to fraud as a result.

This is according to a new survey from phone comparison site, which quizzed almost 5,500 folks who had bought a smartphone in the last year.

The research found that 65 per cent of respondents don't use any form of security with their phone, such as a PIN or fingerprint (or similar) to unlock the device. That means if someone pinches their handset, the criminal in question will immediately have access, leaving the victim potentially open to fraud on top of the theft of their phone.

When questioned as to the reason they're not bothering with a PIN, the majority, 55 per cent, viewed it as an unnecessary hassle when it came to accessing their handset. 20 per cent were worried they'd forget the PIN, and 15 per cent didn't even know about the existence of a PIN on phones.

And if most don't use any form of basic security, it's not surprising to hear that very few use advanced measures such as encryption – only 2 per cent of those surveyed, in fact.

Only 7 per cent had installed a service such as Find My iPhone to help locate their device if it's lost, and 8 per cent said they had actually lost their smartphone, or had it stolen, in the past year.

Head of Customer Insight at Tiger Mobiles, Brandon Ackroyd, commented: "I'm not really surprised by the low numbers, the vast majority of smartphone users don't see the need for any security but this is extremely short sighted considering the kind of information people store on their mobile phone."

He added: "The world is going mobile and so are criminals. The smartphone you carry around with you all day long is now a prime target for both high level cyber-criminals and opportunistic street thieves who want to gain access to your personal information."