Consumer, Identity Protection, Mobile Security

More Than 30% of People Don’t Password Protect Their Mobile Devices

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By on Feb 24, 2013

Are you guilty as charged?

Whenever I bring this up in a group setting, it astonishes me how many people raise their hands. I wonder if they realize that they are putting all the personal information contained on their mobile device at risk. The unfortunate reality is that everyone loses things, and our devices can get stolen. And when that happens to your smartphone or tablet, it can be devastating.

Many of us use upwards of ten apps on our devices during a typical week. The majority of these apps are logged into our most critical accounts including email, text, banking, social media, payment apps and others that are linked to our credit cards. And because mobile app developers know that we are more apt to use their programs if they are easy to access and convenient to use, a lot of apps are programmed to automatically keep you logged in for days, weeks, months, or until you manually revoke access.

If your devices are not password protected and are then lost or stolen, your accounts are 100% accessible to whoever has control of your device. This is bad—and yet, 36% of us still do not use password protection!

According to a recent global survey by McAfee and One Poll, consumers seem largely unconcerned about keeping data on their mobile devices safe. For example, only one in five respondents have backed up the data on their smartphone and tablet, and more than one in ten (15%) save password information on their phone. This means that if their phone falls into the wrong hands, they risk opening up all sorts of personal information such as bank details and online logins to whoever finds the device.

Setting up a password or PIN is no guarantee that data will stay safe, and over half (55%) of all respondents admitted that they have shared these details with others, including their kids.

What’s particularly interesting is that men and women also behave differently with their mobile devices, not only in terms of how much risk they are willing to take, but also in terms of what they value.

MWC_MobileSurvey

Here are a few steps to make sure you and your mobile devices stay protected:

  • Password protect all your devices (and don’t use easy ones like 1234 or 1111)
  • Never use the “remember me” function on your apps or mobile web browser, and take care to log out of your accounts
  • Consider not sharing your PIN/password—this might be a tough one, but in the long run it will save you from possible heartacheUse a mobile security product like McAfee Mobile Security (and also McAfee All Access), that has not only anti-malware, but web protection and app protection. With app protection, not only are you warned if your apps are accessing information on your mobile that they shouldn’t, but in the event that someone does unlock your device, you can ensure your personal information remains personal by locking some or all of your apps
  • Stay educated on the latest ways to protect your mobile device. For a fun quiz to help you learn about mobile security, visit the McAfee Facebook page. Play the Mobile Mythbusters quiz and get a chance to win a Galaxy Tablet or Kindle Fire!

And if you’re at Mobile World Congress, stop by and see McAfee in Hall 3, Stand C34. If you show our team in the red shirts that you’ve liked them on Facebook or followed them on Twitter, you’ll get a prize!

 

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!. Disclosures.

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