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"The way a mobile application handles personal data is a feature that many cell phone owners now take into consideration when choosing the apps they will use," said Pew Internet Project Research Associate Mary Madden on Wednesday.
Still, Lookout warns that mobile malware distribution techniques are diversifying, which means that mobile phone users will need to be even more vigilant going forward.
"Attackers are using a combination of new and existing distribution techniques, including e-mail spam, hacked Web sites that enable drive-by-downloads and affiliate-based marketing," the authors of Lookout's new report wrote.
Smartphone Users More Vigilant
According to Pew's new study, 31 percent of the U.S. mobile phone users overall reported having experienced the loss or theft of a mobile device in the past, and rising to 45 percent among users between the ages of 18 to 24. Additionally, 12 percent of respondents overall -- as well as 24 percent aged 18-24, indicated that others had accessed their handsets in ways which made them feel that their privacy had been violated.
Among smartphone owners, 59 percent of the Pew survey's respondents said they regularly back up their mobile phone content, and with 50 percent periodically clearing their mobile browsers browsing or search history. By contrast, only 21 percent of feature phone owners reported backing up phone contents and only 14 percent have cleared their handset's browsing or search histories.
"The wealth of intimate details stored on smartphones makes them akin to the personal diaries of the past -- the information they contain is hard to replace if lost, and potentially embarrassing in the wrong hands," said Pew Internet Project Research Associate Aaron Smith.