Mobile phones less often secure than computers

Mobile phone users indicate they are less likely to have security software installed on their device than computer users. Nearly one-quarter of respondents say their mobile device is not secure at all and an equally large share report they do not know whether it has any form of protection. This is evident from the Cyber Security Monitor 2018 published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In 2017, nine in ten computer users indicated that their computer is protected with some sort of security software, such as an antivirus program or firewall. This share is slightly more than half among mobile phone users (52 percent). Almost one-quarter (24 percent) of mobile phone users participating in the survey said there is no security software installed on their device at all. This holds true for 4 percent of the computer users.

Security software, computer and mobile phone users, 2017*
 Computer (%)Mobile phone or smartphone (%)
Installed by themselves or someone else5420
Included in operating system or installed automatically3532
Not aware of security status724
No security software in place424
*For private purposes

One-quarter unfamiliar with security status of mobile device

In 2017, nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of the people with a mobile phone reported that they did not know whether their mobile device was protected with any form of security software. Of those using a computer, 7 percent indicated they actually did not know.

The largest share of people who were unfamiliar with the protection status of their mobile phone or computer was found among 12 to 24-year-olds and people aged 65 or older.

Security software, computer and mobile phone users by age, 2017*
CategoriesIncluded in operating system or installed automatically (%)Installed by themselves or someone else (%)No security software in place (%)Unfamiliar with security status (%)
Mobile phone or smartphone
12 to 24 yrs30172528
25 to 44 yrs34192919
45 to 64 yrs34241923
65 yrs or older29192330
12 to 24 yrs3548611
25 to 44 yrs365465
45 to 64 yrs335826
65 yrs or older395218
*For private purposes

Women less likely to be familiar with security status

There are considerable discrepancies in the results between male and female respondents. Of the women, 31 percent did not know whether their mobile device was equipped with security software, versus a lower share among men: 17 percent.

It should be noted that it is unknown whether those not aware of their mobile device protection status indeed do not have security software on their device. In any case, it had not been installed by them.

Mobile phones more likely to have standard security software

Mobile phone users - more so than computer users - rely on security software which has been supplied as part of the operating system. The majority of computer users (54 percent) reported in 2017 that security software had been installed by themselves or someone else. This share was lower among mobile phone users (20 percent). Most users (32 percent) mentioned that the only security software already in place was part of the operating system provided.