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Almost half of internet users connect via phones

01 September 2011 15:54:46

Mobile phones are now commonly used to access the internet. image
Mobile phones are now commonly used to access the internet.
The latest report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the extent to which internet use has changed in recent years. Figures show that 77% of households now have internet access, with 45% of users accessing the internet via their mobile phones. However, the report also highlights concerns about the security of people's personal data.

Majority of homes have internet access
Just 20 years ago, the internet was still something of an enigma to most people. Now, according to the latest ONS figures on internet access, 77% of households have a connection and just 17.4% of adults have never used the internet.

Rather than merely looking for fixed-line deals when they compare broadband packages, it seems that consumers are increasingly relying on their mobile phones to get online. Nearly half of internet users (45%) said they had used their mobile phone to connect to the internet during the last year, up from just 23% in 2009. In addition, the figures show that an extra 6 million people have started accessing the internet over their mobile phone during the past 12 months.

Adoption of mobile phone internet use is highest among those aged 16 to 24, 71% of whom say they have used their phone for this purpose this year. Mobile internet is also proving popular among owners of laptops and other portable computers, with 38% of internet users claiming to use these devices when they are not at work or at home.

Britons getting used to internet on the move
Consumers are increasingly opting to go online while they are out and about, with the ONS report revealing that the use of wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots at hotels, restaurants and airports has risen. Some 4.9 million users reported accessing the internet in this way over the last 12 months, compared with just 0.7 million in 2007.

This has led to concerns about the safety of personal data, however. One in five internet users (21%) say they do not have the necessary internet or computer skills to protect their data and 19% do not feel confident about preventing computer viruses. One of the most basic ways to protect data on mobile phones is to set up a password. However, recent research by data protection firm Sophos found that 67% of people do not have a password on their mobile phone, even though 34% of consumers have lost their handset or had it stolen in the past.

James Lyne, director of technology strategy at Sophos, said: "It is essential to address the security and operational issues relating to mobile devices now, rather than getting caught out later. Most data breaches on mobile devices are typically due to basic security failures, such as weak or no passwords being in place, failure to encrypt data or falling victim to phishing or other social engineering attacks."ADNFCR-2196-ID-800716677-ADNFCR ADNFCR-2196-ID-19464191-ADNFCR

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