Why phone rule change coming on April 29 is so important

The full impact of having your phone stolen has been revealed in new research that shows that many had their social media accounts accessed after their phone was taken and one in four also had money taken through their digital wallet. According to Nuke From Orbit, 78% of people use their smartphones for mobile banking, 85% for accessing email, 71% for managing social media and 51% for a digital wallet - meaning phone thieves can access all their personal data from a single device.

Nearly half of people use the same PIN to gain access to the phone and multiple apps, services, and bank cards.

James O’Sullivan, CEO and founder of Nuke From Orbit said: “Biometrics were introduced to make smartphones more secure because the frequency with which you need to input a PIN is greatly reduced, but our research shows this has led to some complacency. Criminals are returning to old-school shoulder surfing tactics – that made ATMs a nightmare – to access the phones they then steal to commit secondary crimes.”

The UK Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (Product Security) Act, which will come into effect on April 29, will ensure that consumer technology products meet mandatory security requirements to protect against cyberattacks. Businesses will be accountable for protecting customer data as the regulation mandates them to set safety measures such as minimum default password requirements and providing information on security issues.

James said: “The Act is relevant for consumers and businesses, including banks, fintechs and online service providers. Service providers are responsible for ensuring they do everything possible to protect consumers when the worst happens. Our research suggests that currently, they are not doing enough.”

Nuke From Orbit offers a unique digital panic button, allowing individuals to block access to various services and accounts all at once if their smartphone is stolen.