Majority of Americans Use PINs or Passwords to Protect Their Mobile Devices and Personal Information

CTIA-The Wireless Association announced the results from a survey it commissioned on consumer security behaviors, conducted by Harris Poll.
October 19, 2015

Perceived threat levels are still low, but consumers adopt more advanced personal security measures.

WASHINGTON – CTIA-The Wireless Association® announced the results from a survey PDF icon it commissioned on consumer security behaviors, conducted by Harris Poll. With the increase of personal data being stored on mobile devices, the survey showed that 61 percent of wireless consumers use PINs/passwords, up 20 percent from the survey conducted in 2012. Forty percent said they installed anti-virus software on their smartphones, up 29 percent from the 2012 survey.

The survey also found that more than one-third of consumers installed locks and wipe apps. Twelve percent of the respondents said they lost devices in the last year. Almost 50 percent of those said they used a program to locate their devices and nearly 40 percent contacted their wireless providers.

The survey also found:

  • Nearly half of smartphone users use their mobile devices for bank transactions, and the majority believe protections put in place are sufficient security measures. 
  • Nearly 60 percent of wireless users have or are willing to record personal health/fitness data on their devices. 
  • Over 80 percent of consumers are familiar with cybersecurity.
  • Seventy five percent of users identified cybersecurity as protecting their personal data from identity theft, being secure on the Internet and protecting their devices from unauthorized access.

“These results demonstrate that the consumer education programs developed by the wireless industry and by individual companies are improving Americans’ cybersecurity behaviors. We are pleased these numbers are moving in the right direction,” said CTIA Vice President of Technology & Cybersecurity John Marinho. “This survey also reinforces the need for the entire wireless ecosystem – network operators, device manufacturers and application/content developers – to continue to work together to stem the rising tide of security threats. By collaborating and educating consumers, Americans will sustain the benefits of the US having one of world’s lowest smartphone malware infection rates.”

Harris Poll conducted the self-administered online survey PDF icon of U.S. adult (18+) smartphone users in February 2015. A sample of the respondents provided in-depth interviews in April 2015. The 2015 sample differed slightly from the 2012 survey in that the 2012 survey included all types of mobile phone users.

For more information and cybersecurity tips, please visit: For a list of apps to locate, lock and erase your smartphone, please visit:


CTIA-The Wireless Association® ( represents the U.S. wireless communications industry. With members from wireless carriers and their suppliers to providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products, the association brings together a dynamic group of companies that enable consumers to lead a 21st century connected life. CTIA members benefit from its vigorous advocacy at all levels of government for policies that foster the continued innovation, investment and economic impact of America’s competitive and world-leading mobile ecosystem. The association also coordinates the industry’s voluntary best practices and initiatives and convenes the industry’s leading wireless tradeshow. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.

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