Consumers fail to protect mobiles


McAfee says consumers are still failing to protect their mobile devices and therefore their personal information

One third of people do not protect their mobile phone or tablet with a pin number or password, according to a new survey.

Most mobile device users remain unaware of potential breaches to their privacy as smartphones and tablet devices become increasingly attractive to cybercriminals, claimed McAfee, which surveyed 3,000 consumers with partner, One Poll.

When it comes to choosing a pin number, the majority of consumers in the UK and Germany stick with the first one they were ever given, the research showed. In contrast, French and American respondents are more likely to opt for their lucky number. Worryingly however, more than one in ten use the same pin across multiple devices and accounts, noted McAfee.

McAfee warned that setting up a password or pin is no guarantee that data will stay safe, with over half (55%) of all respondents to the survey admitting that they have shared these details with others. Interestingly, this number is higher for tablets (61% have shared their pin) than it is for mobiles (49% have shared their pin), suggesting that consumers value the data on their phone more than that on their tablet.

The survey highlights that 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 phone and tablet in case it's stolen. In addition, more than one in 10 (15%) save password information on their phone, most commonly in the 'notes' section, meaning that if their phone falls into the wrong hands they risk opening up all sorts of personal information such as bank details and online store logins.

Parents are similarly lax when it comes to how their children interact with their devices, McAfee claimed. Almost half of respondents allow their children access to their mobile or tablet while one in six admit that their child knows their pin or password. A further 10% are also happy to share their password to iTunes or other app purchasing sites to enable their kids to buy apps.

'It's clear that consumers are forgetting exactly how much valuable information is stored on their mobile or tablet,' commented Raj Samani, EMEA CTO, McAfee. 'These devices can contain personal data like bank details and addresses, so it's crucial that people take the same care they would with their wallet or computer. Failing to set a PIN or password is like leaving your front door open; would you be surprised if you came home to find your PC missing?

'Our recent McAfee Consumer Trends Report shows that mobile devices are becoming increasingly attractive to cybercriminals as they look for new ways to steal digital identities and commit fraud.'


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