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24% of web users have banked on their mobile phone

However, 62% don't use a PIN to protect the data on their handset

Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of web users have banked online via their mobile phone, says BullGuard.

Research by the security firm revealed despite storing personal details on their handset, 62 percent of mobile phone owners don't use a PIN to protect their device. Furthermore, 53 percent said they were unaware of specific mobile phone security software, while 21 percent believe it's not necessary.

"It appears as though modern mobile users are quick to appreciate the convenience and easy access to services offered from handhelds, but are slow to recognise the potential threat to smartphones in a time when mobile malware on some platforms has risen by up to 400 percent in the past six months," says Claus Villumsen, mobile security expert with BullGuard.

"It is concerning that mobile users are storing such sensitive data, but even more concerning is that our survey revealed many consumers seem apathetic about the potential dangers of mobile use at present, ignoring even the most basic security measures."

The research also suggested that there is a clear need to educate mobile phone users when it comes to storing personal data as more than a quarter (27 percent) said they had lost their device or had it stolen in the past, while 55 percent admitted they were unaware a handset can be infected by a virus.

However, nearly six in ten mobile phone owners (59 percent) said they were concerned about the security of Near Field Communications (NFC) technology - which allows handsets to be used to pay for goods and services - when it comes to intercepting sensitive personal data. Around two thirds (64 percent) were worried about the security of the data should a device be lost or stolen, and 54 percent were worried about third parties accessing their bank or credit card details.

"What consumers need to be made aware of is that many mobile threats go undetected," said Villumsen. "Some attacks are specifically designed to 'mine data' from a phone without the user's knowledge, which could be disastrous if this were to include sensitive information such as financial data or secure documents."

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