More than a quarter of Australian consumers fear their mobile apps will be breached and need mobile developers to invest more in delivering robust cyber protection in mobile apps, says market research sponsored by Appdome.
The finding was detailed in Appdome’s annual Australian Consumer Expectations of Mobile App Security study which surveyed Australian consumers about their mobile app usage, as well as their cyber security expectations and concerns in using mobile apps. The survey of Australian citizens was part of a global study of 25,000 consumers of all ages, backgrounds and genders, from multiple countries, including the US, the UK, Germany, Israel, Brazil, Singapore and Australia.
‘Concern about falling victim to fraud’ and ‘having an app hacked’ were nominated as the top fear which would stop them from using an app, by 56 per cent and 52 per cent of Australians, respectively.
Fastest growing fears, meanwhile, included the threat posed by on-device malware, unprotected mobile apps and fake apps, also known as Trojans. Developers that do not care about users’ security was cited as a concern by 27.6 per cent of local respondents.
Fear of on-device malware was up 104.8 per cent since 2021, while concern about “developers who release unprotected apps” skyrocketed by 225 per cent over the same period.
“Australians have high expectations of cyber security, anti-fraud and anti-malware defense in mobile apps and want developers to hear them,” said Tom Tovar (lead image), CEO, Appdome. “Security is right up there with the top features demanded by Australian consumers and the risk to their transactions, data and use should be taken just as seriously as the best features in the app.”
Most Australians (83.9 per cent) deemed protection against security threats, fraud and malware to be equally important, or more important, as new features within the apps they use. Just 16.1% of users agreed app developers should ‘focus on features, not security’ or that ‘features come first.’
Australians expect the most stringent security features in apps which share their personal data, the survey found. Mobile banking apps should have the highest level of security, according to 36.5 per cent of respondents. Some 15.9 per cent of Australians stated that eWallets/money transfers/payments apps should have the highest security. And social media apps and health and wellness apps were tied for third place at 12.9 per cent each.
More than half of consumers (51.9 per cent) said all mobile apps that share personal data should have the highest level of protection.
“Australians are very sophisticated when it comes to the mobile app security, anti-fraud and malware defence they expect in the Android and iOS apps they use,” said Tovar.
“They aren’t shy about saying they expect advanced protection from malware, trojans, hacking and fraud inside the mobile app.”
Mobile brands whose apps are perceived to be less secure can expect to face bigger adoption costs and higher customer churn. Almost a quarter of Australians said they would likely stop using an app if they discovered their use was not being protected while a further 39.1 per cent said they would ‘very likely stop using the app and tell my friends to stop too.’ If the mobile app suffered a successful hack or breach, the figures are even higher: 47.9 per cent said they would ‘very likely stop using the app and tell my friends to stop too.’
“Even brands that haven’t had the misfortune to experience an attack may find their customers switching to other mobile brands, if consumers perceive the mobile app isn’t secure,” said Tovar. “That switch is more pronounced if an attack happens, of course.”
Conversely, when consumers feel that mobile brands have met their security expectations, they are incredibly happy to advocate for those brands, with 91.1 per cent of Australian consumers stating they would promote brands on social media, recommend to their friends and family or write positive reviews on the app stores if they were protected.
“There’s a strong message here for brands and mobile developers alike,” said Tovar. “Give the Australian consumer the protection from hacking, fraud and malware they demand, tell them you’re doing so and show them in the app, and they’ll reward you.”
- More than a quarter of Australian consumers believe app developers do not care sufficiently about cyber security.
- More than 80 per cent of Australians say security is equally or more important than new features within apps.
- Concern about on-device malware shot up by 104.8 per cent since 2021.
- 41.3 per cent of Australian consumers demand the most advanced level of protection in mobile apps they use regularly.
- More than 70 per cent of consumers are likely to cease using an app from a brand that has experienced a cyber incident.
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