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1 in 2 Indians victim of mobile phone loss: Norton

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 11:26 IST

1 in 2 Indians victim of mobile phone loss: Norton

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BS Reporter and Indrani Roy Mitra in New Delhi/Kolkata

Indian women would rather get a root canal done and men would rather drink stale milk than lose their mobile phones, sats a Norton Mobile Survey.

Almost 77 per cent of the victims considered the loss of contact information the worst part of the experience, the survey says.

The survey conducted by Symantec, security product and solutions provider, stated that 53 per cent of the adults in India have been victims of mobile phone loss or theft. Despite this, only two in five Indians have a password protecting their devices.

"The survey results are clear: mobile phone loss and theft are significant issues for Indians today. As smartphones become more pervasive in our lives, there is a greater need to protect the data on such devices," said Gaurav Kanwal, country sales manager, India, consumer products and solutions, Symantec.

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Of the affected Indians, one in two was concerned about the exposure or loss of private information, with 74 per cent noting that they could neither remotely lock nor wipe the phone's memory out after it was lost or stolen.

This could account for 82 per cent finding the process of resolving the situation difficult and 90 per cent finding the experience stressful.

Moreover, the study added that resolving the situation costs Rs 9,957, nearly three times the amount Indians are willing to pay.

The study said more than half of the victims were willing to pay a ransom (an average of Rs 3,692) to resolve the situation.

However, in reality victims end up paying nearly three times that amount (an average of Rs 9,957).

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1 in 2 Indians victim of mobile phone loss: Norton

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Despite this almost three in 10 Indians said the situation was never resolved and in cases where it was resolved, 12 per cent said it took more than a week.

Getting help is not entirely easy either; despite high levels of inconvenience, people feel that a limited number of resources are available to help in such occasions.

For most Indians, mobile providers are the main source of contact, followed by family and friends.

The Norton Mobile Survey is based on research conducted in January 2011 by The Leading Edge, an independent market research firm, on behalf of Symantec Corporation.

The Leading Edge conducted an online survey among 500 adults, between the age of 18 and 54, within each of the following six markets: Singapore, India, Australia, China, Taiwan and Japan.

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Indians have some of the highest confidence levels in the region with regard to the use of software services on their mobile phones.

Six out of 10 Indians are comfortable with software on their phones that identify their location and online banking.

With mobile phones becoming such a central device in the lives of consumers, it is important to protect these devices, especially the data that is stored on such devices.

The study also found that Indians are more likely to have a password if they currently own a smartphone or have lost their mobile phone or had it stolen in the past.

Currently, only 42 per cent of users in India have password-protected mobile phones -- of which, 61 per cent currently own a smartphone and another 50 per cent were previously victims of mobile phone loss or theft.

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'It seemed as if the world had come to an end'

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We spoke to a few people from Kolkata who lost their mobile phones in recent times to know about the difficulties that they faced after the loss. Read on. . .

Bijoy Sarkar
Photographer

How did you lose the handset?

I lost my handset while travelling by the train. Someone picked it. It seemed as if the world had come to an end (laughs).

Did you lose all stored data?

All my contacts (professional and otherwise) were gone in a minute.

It was an awful feeling.

Could any data be recovered?

I could recover only 20 per cent of the data as I had called up the service provider and had had the SIM locked. When I got a new SIM with the same number later, I got back only few of the precious numbers.

Are you adopting any safety measures for your mobile data now?

Technically speaking no. But now I have become too cautious while commuting. I mean I grab my handset for my dear life while I am on the train or bus (laughs).

As for seeking technical assistance to safeguard my data, I may opt for it in near future.

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Image: Bijoy Sarkar.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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'Lost some precious songs and videos'

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Samir Dasgupta
Businessman

How did you lose the handset?           

My handset got stolen from my shop. It was quite new and one of the high end ones. I still miss it.. 

Did you lose the stored data?

Yes, I lost all my contacts.   

Could any data be recovered?

But contacts could be recovered later.

However, the songs and videos that I had stored in the handset were too precious to me. I could never get them back (sighs).

Some priceless moments were gone for ever.

Are you adopting any safety measures for your mobile data now?

What measures? I am not a technical person. Neither am I conversant with the nitty gritty of electronic gadgets. However, after losing my mobile, I have become far too cautious.

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Image: Samir Dasgupta.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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'Mobile contact safeguards? Not for me'

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Naren Das
Car mechanic

How did you lose the handset?

I lost my handset while at work. I felt awful as the handset was a gift from a friend.

Did you lose the stored data?

Thankfully, I had stored all my numbers in the SIM and on getting a second SIM from my service provider I managed to get back the contacts.

The loss that I suffered was in terms of money as I had to buy myself a new handset.

Do you still store all your data in the SIM?

Yes of course. I am once bitten, twice shy (laughs).

Are you adopting any safety measures for your mobile data now?

You mean technical measures? No. I am a mechanic.

I understand the mechanism that drives an automobile.

Technicalities that drive a mobile are refined stuff meant for people in blue-collar jobs.

The only safety measure that I adopt these days is to prevent my handset from getting stolen again.

As for seeking technical assistance to safeguard my data, I may opt for it in near future.

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Image: Naren Das.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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1 in 2 Indians victim of mobile phone loss: Norton

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Swarup Dey
Engineer

How did you lose the handset?

I am very absent-minded and cannot blame anyone but myself for losing the handset. I was returning home from office in a cab and I left the handset in the cab by mistake.

Later I tried calling up the number but it could not be reached. It was a brand new handset and I still miss it.

Did you lose the stored data?

Yes. I was in a mess.

Could any data be recovered?

It took me several months to get back my data. Some numbers I retrieved from my friends, family and colleagues and some from my old contacts when they called me.

I had to attend to some important meetings at that time and losing all the important numbers was a nightmarish experience.

Are you adopting any safety measures for your mobile data now?

Yes not only do I keep a copy of the stored data in the SIM but I have also installed a software on my phone that can identify its location.

I have also set a password to safekeep the stored data.

Wish there were a software that could help me get rid of my carelessness (laughs).


Image: Swarup Dey.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
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