New research has found that many people who are not using their phones to pay bills simply have a digital caliper to help them stay on top of their finances.
The digital calipers that are available to owners of smartphones, computers and tablets are not secure enough to stop the spread of ransomware and other malicious software, the Australian Institute of Criminology said.
It is estimated that around 20 million Australian phones have their own digital calorimeters, which are not used to unlock phones, let them ring and turn on alarms, but only to unlock locks.
The research was conducted by researchers at the University of New South Wales and the Australian National University, and was published in the journal Criminological Sciences.
“It’s very, very common for people to be paying their bills on their phones,” Associate Professor Michael Kuehnert from the University’s School of Crimina-Political Science said.
“There’s a lot of people who do it but they’re not doing it on their home phones.”
Associate Professor Kueehnert said people should be aware that using their phone on their bedside table or in their car would leave them vulnerable to the spread.
“When you’re in your own home, you’re using your phone on your phone, your phone is in your pocket and you’re not going to put it in a pocket or leave it there,” he said.
He said people who were not paying their phones could be putting them at risk.
“We know from experience that people don’t always lock their phone, so there’s a risk they could be using their own phone to access the app and be using it to open an account on a third-party app, or using it on a public transport app to open a transaction,” he explained.
Associate Prof Kuehnert has previously shown that using your mobile phone to pay a bill is a risk.
The study, which examined data from a nationally representative sample of 1,058 Australians, found that most Australians who use their phones daily to pay their bills do so through their mobile phones.
“Only 1.2 per cent of people were using their smartphone to pay the bill,” Associate Prof Kühnert said.
The researchers also found that a large proportion of people did not pay their bill by using their mobile phone in their bedroom or at work.
The most common reason for not paying was because they did not have access to a payphone.
Assault weapons used by the perpetrators of the attack on a Sydney café were also used by people who did not lock their phones.
Associates Professor Kühnart and Associate Professor Kaehnert found that when using their smartphones to pay, people should keep a close eye on what their phones are doing.
“One of the things that we do know is that there’s this phenomenon of people using their Android phones to do things, like check email, look at their email messages, take pictures of the phone, open an app, download the app, use a messaging app or use an online chat app to check messages, so we’re really not seeing that that’s an effective way to do it,” Associate Associate Professor Lee said.
In addition, the researchers found that people who use smartphones for payment often do so without a digital alarm, and that they tend to have other devices on them that could alert them to the presence of a security vulnerability.
Association Professor Kuhnert also said there were ways to get around this problem.
“If someone is using their smart phone for their banking, they could use their phone to check their bank balance and then they could go to the website to verify the balance.
They could go in to their phone and check their phone is locked.
They don’t have to lock it, so it’s not as difficult to do,” Associate Dr Lee said