Lookout lost mobile device survey just doesn’t add up

Mobile security company Lookout recently published a survey that claims US citizens lost $30 billion worth of mobile devices in 2011. The Lookout survey makes it very clear that on average every US citizen loses a mobile device once a year. Really?

Now, come on Lookout, this survey seems to be about creating media hype (and I’m contributing to it by writing about it I know) and publishing all sorts of ‘inflated’ and ‘twisted’ stats. The ‘inflated’ has to be the valuation of $30 billion (are there not 350m US citizens? – you can do the maths here) and the ‘twisted’ relates to the fact that Lookout will have no idea just how many mobiles devices are actually recovered let alone unrecovered. This is the job of research companies, which is why at second glance, the survey reads as media hype, which it is.

As a mobile security specialist and having worked in mobile for over a decade, I don’t like seeing these types of over exaggerated statistics being pumped into paying PR and marketing agencies. Surveys have to be relevant, real and appeal to the mindset of a regular mobile user and not oversell a product or service to the market place. People see through this and more so in these tough economic times.

As for losing my mobile device, I for one have never lost my mobile and do not know of anyone who has – and I know lots of people with mobile devices. The survey also only appears to take into account the English speakers, what about Spanish people in the US? The survey also mentions England, but doesn’t make any mention of other non-English speaking countries – China or India anyone? Don’t they use Lookout? Not forgetting these are the two largest emerging economies in the world today.

This survey by Lookout only makes my job a little harder in convincing the public and business that there is a serious threat to mobile users. Right now that threat is from rogue apps, customised Android OS’s (including rooted devices), SMS and email spear phishing as well as rogue browser drive-by threats. Equally important to note is the mobile malware threat is operating system specific – Android is top of the list right now.

In the coming months and years the mobile threat will develop and merge (think BYOD too) the PC and mobile/tablet environment. Lastly and most important for me, no one right now can deny that malware writers will soon be funded by organised cyber criminals to exploit the ever growing demand for mobile usage. Mobile carriers and retail banking take note. 🙂

Safe surfing folks!

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