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TheStreet Open House

Study Reveals Majority Of Adults Share Intimate Details Via Unsecured Digital Devices

Today, McAfee released the findings from their 2014 Love, Relationships & Technology survey. For a second year in a row, the company examined how more than 1,500 consumers are sharing and storing intimate data on their mobile devices, especially with current or former significant others. The study highlights how sharing personal content such as suggestive texts, naked photos, suggestive video and passcodes on these devices can potentially lead to cyber-stalking and the exposure of private content leaking online.

While 98% of respondents use their mobile device to take photos, 54% send or receive intimate content including video, photos, emails and messages. Of those surveyed, 69% are securing their smartphone with a password or passcode, a 30 percentage point increase from last year’s result. However, 46% of U.S. adults still share their passwords with another individual (down from 54%), while 42% use the same password across multiple devices, increasing the likelihood that these mobile devices will become hacked.

“With all the stories we’ve heard about intimate photos being leaked, it’s hard to believe people are still sharing their passwords,” said Gary Davis, vice president of McAfee consumer business. “Ultimately, they’re increasing the risks of these photos becoming public and possibly jeopardizing their identity and reputation. Consumers must take precautions and use mobile security to ensure that what should be private stays private.”

McAfee advises consumers not to share passwords or codes for mobile devices with others to help keep their content secure. Mobile users should avoid using weak passwords that can be easily determined such as birthdays, numbers in a row or repeat numbers for their devices. Rather, six-digit passcodes and words translated into numbers using your mobile keypad are stronger and should be utilized.

Additional findings from the survey include:

For Your Eyes Only

Seventy percent of 18 - 24 year olds receive sexually suggestive content from someone, the largest percentage of all age groups. More men are likely to use their mobile device to send and receive similar content (61% men vs. 48% women). Forty-five percent of U.S. adults say they stored intimate content that they have received in comparison to 40% who store risqué photos, videos or messages they have sent. Of those who have sent intimate or racy content, 77% have sent this content to their significant other, while 1 in 10 individuals have sent similar content to a total stranger.

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