With nearly half (42%) of us still failing to password-protect our mobile devices, and only 20% using anti-theft solutions, pick pocketers who get their hands on a smartphone could be in for more of a treat than even they hope for. That’s one of the latest concerns raised by cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab, which has found that people are leaving their devices – and the increasing amount of precious data on them – accessible to anyone.
Many people today rely on their mobile devices to access the Internet and carry out online activities, so losing a device to petty crime is potentially more damaging and upsetting than ever before. For example, 68% of individuals say they regularly use the Internet on a smartphone (up from 60% in 2016) and 34% now regularly use a tablet to get online.
As such, several types of precious data are being stored on, and sent from, these gadgets. For example, over a third (40%) of people use their smartphone for online banking, which of course provides access to valuable financial information. Furthermore, nearly 59% of people regularly use their smartphone for accessing their personal email accounts and over half (53%) say they use it for social media activities, both of which involve a huge quantity of sensitive data.
But having a lot of precious data on their mobile devices doesn’t necessarily make people conscious and secure – just over half (53%) of people password-protect their mobile devices and just 14% of people encrypt their files and folders to avoid unauthorised access. So, if these devices fall into the wrong hands, all of this data – from personal accounts, to photos, messages and even financial details – could become accessible to someone else.
Even losing devices that are protected with passwords can still have significant consequences. For example, less than half (33%) of people make backups of their data and only 20% use anti-theft features on their mobile devices, meaning that these devices’ ex-owners will likely experience a lack of access to their own personal information and accounts as a result.
Says David Mole, Head of Retail, Kaspersky Lab.
“Connected devices are an integral part of our modern lives, giving us access to any information, from anywhere, at any time – they are high value, and therefore highly sought-after by cyber-criminals.
“If we don’t password-protect our phones, we make it a lot easier for criminals to access our data. By applying a password, and using a dedicated security solution, including anti-theft protection, we can protect our personal information, photos and online accounts from both loss and malicious usage.”