Aussie mobile users most vulnerable to security threats

Australian smartphone users have been found to be the most susceptible to mobile app threats based on an analysis of devices and apps around the world by mobile security specialist Lookout.

According to the Lookout App Threats Map, Australia topped the world with the highest percentage of mobile app threats detected (26.9%) on a per-device basis, with iPhone users significantly more likely to download a risky application than an Android user.

The findings were derived from Lookout’s security graph, which analyses anonymous telemetry data from over 200 million devices and 160 million apps. The data covers the period from February 2021 to March 2022.

“Australians may have become complacent when it comes to downloading applications to their phones, at a time when risks are higher than ever,” said Don Tan, senior director of Asia-Pacific and Japan at Lookout.

“Across the nation they’ve been using their phones to check in, order food and more – this common usage of phones has perhaps bred a complacency about the applications they’re downloading. But they need to become more vigilant than ever,” he added.

Tan noted that crimes targeting smartphone users can seem low-risk and invisible – “until we see Australia on a map, coloured in red, with the highest number of application threats compared to its global counterparts. That’s when it starts to become very real”.

Amid growing mobile threats, Tan urged Australians to be more vigilant when downloading applications, or this number will rise, and their financial details and other personal information will continue falling into the hands of criminals.”

“It’s important for people to check the links attached to anything they download, as well as the download count and customer reviews on the app store,” he said.

Further to Australia having the highest rate of mobile app threats in the world, Lookout’s analysis found that the vast majority of these threats have come from iOS (30.1%) rather than Android (1.2%) devices.

Tan said this indicated a degree of security complacency among iOS users: “Apple does an outstanding job with mobile security, and because of this strong reputation its users can often…