My name is Davey Winder, and I am a phoneaphobic. At first glance it would appear that I am anything but alone if the results of a recent study into attitudes towards mobile phone usage are to be believed. But first impressions are often misleading and that's the case here, as unlike me it seems that the majority of people do not have a phobia of simply speaking on the phone (or more accurately having my train of thought interrupted by meaningless telephone conversations when an email will usually suffice) but rather the exact opposite. Nomophobia is the fear of losing mobile phone contact, and the survey by SecurEnvoy and OnePoll reveals that an astonishing 66 percent of UK respondents suffer from it. That's up from the first such survey conducted in 2008 when only 53 percent admitted to being nomophobic.
Of the people interviewed, some 41 percent actually have two or more mobile phones in order to ensure such a lack of connectivity never strikes. Women are more likely (70 percent) to be scared of cellphone loss than men (61 percent), while men (47 percent) are more likely to have two phone than women (36 percent). "I’d be inclined to draw the conclusion that, perhaps because more men have two phones, they’re less likely to misplace both and therefore be left phone-less" said Andy Kemshall SecurEnvoy CTO and co founder, adding "there is another study into mobile phone use that found people check their phones, on average, 34 times a day so it wouldn’t take long for you to realise if you’d misplaced your device".
Interestingly, the younger you are so the fear rises. The survey found that 18 to 24 year olds were most nomophobic (77 percent) followed by the 25 to 34 age range (68 percent) although the oldies bucked the trend a little with the over 55's claiming third spot.
Sticking with the numbers for a moment, 49 percent of people asked agreed that they would be upset if messages and texts were viewed by their partners. Not such an unusual thing, you may think, but 46 percent admitted they did not use any kind of security measure to protect those messages from prying eyes. At least 41 percent did at least make use of a four digit PIN code I guess, but from a security writer persepctive it saddened me to discover that only 10 percent encrypted their devices and a meagre 3 percent were paranoid enough to go the whole two-factor authentication hog. I know this all sounds a little lightweight and just a tad tabloid, but there is a serious aspect to me reporting all this: 58 percent of people asked used at least one of their mobile phones for business purposes. Which means that there is a lot of insecure business data floating around out there.
And that, frankly, should scare everyone...