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API Journal Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, John Wetherill, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

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McAfee Reveals Consumers Fail to Protect Their Mobile Devces

A third of people don’t bother to protect their mobile phone or tablet with a PIN or password, according to a global survey of 3,000 consumers by McAfee and One Poll. Most mobile device users remain unaware of potential breaches to their privacy as smartphones and tablet devices become increasingly attractive to cybercriminals.

Picking a PIN

When it comes to choosing a PIN, a majority of consumers in the UK and Germany stick with the first one they were ever given. 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.

Passwords: public property?

Setting up a password or PIN is no guarantee that data will stay safe, with over half (55%) of all respondents 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.

Security mistakes

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 ten (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.

Child’s play

Parents are similarly lax when it comes to how their children interact with their devices. 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. 10% are even 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,” comments 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.”

To ensure that personal and sensitive information remains private, McAfee Mobile Security offers comprehensive protection against mobile device loss, viruses, and web threats. Providing protection against spyware and phishing, bad apps, spam and allows the user to lock, track and remotely wipe data if required with the ability to backup and restore personal information.

Visit the McAfee stand at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Hall 3, 3C34 where we are exhibiting with our parent company Intel. Download a free trial of McAfee Mobile Security via Google Play.

For a full copy of the Mobile Security: McAfee Consumer Trends Report from McAfee Labs, with additional threats, please view the report here.

View McAfee’s Blog for more insights and an infographic on the research here.

About McAfee

McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com

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