Mobile PC Users Take More Risks Than Desktop Users, Survey Says

Aug 28, 2007 (12:08 PM EDT)

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Compared to desktop PC users, mobile PC users often take security risks, according to a survey of 1,600 corporate computer users in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Japan.

The survey, conducted by Trend Micro, found that the more mobile a user is, the more likely the user is to send confidential information via instant messaging and e-mail. The report was released Tuesday.

"Risky behavior by mobile workers is increasing the challenge for IT administrators and security specialists," said Raimund Genes, Trend Micro's CTO for anti-malware, in a statement. "Mobile workers may often be unaware of the risk they pose to the corporate network and that their behavior is increasing the risk to corporate security."

In the U.S., 58% of mobile laptop users -- those with Internet access outside company networks -- said they sent confidential information by e-mail; by comparison, just 42% of users connecting via company networks said they sent confidential data via e-mail.

About 77% of U.S. mobile workers received spam at work versus 68% for users utilizing company networks. The figures for the receipt of phishing attacks were 41% for mobile workers and 31% for desktop computer users.

Trend Micro indicated the risky practices of U.S. mobile workers could be offset by the fact that they are more technically savvy and better educated regarding security threats and thus able to combat violations.

Trend Micro, which is a provider of security software, said the U.S. results roughly tracked the results of users in the U.K. and Germany.