Research Summaries

A summary of research findings…

How much attention do smartphone users pay to security?

Experience shows that security is not the top priority for smartphone users. To investigate this Ophoff and Robinson (2014) conducted a study of smartphone security attitude and behaviour, using a sample of 619 South African users. We found that users are complacent in their smartphone security behaviour, displaying high levels of trust towards smartphone app repositories. Users rarely consider privacy and security when installing new applications and do not adequately protect themselves by adopting smartphone protection mechanisms (controls).

In a subsequent study Parker, Ophoff, Van Belle, and Karia (2015) surveyed 510 smartphone users with mixed results. There was positive evidence for more security awareness amongst younger smartphone users. Users reported knowledge of malware and security software, as well as adoption of various authentication and (to a lesser extent) anti-theft controls. However, several risks were highlighted connected to user complacency, risky behaviour, or lack of security control adoption.


Ophoff, J., & Robinson, M. (2014). Exploring end-user smartphone security awareness within a South African context. In 2014 Information Security for South Africa (pp. 1–7). Parker, F.,

Ophoff, J., Belle, J. P. V., & Karia, R. (2015). Security awareness and adoption of security controls by smartphone users. In 2015 Second International Conference on Information Security and Cyber Forensics (InfoSec) (pp. 99–104).

How much attention do smartphone users pay to security

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