Timely to Valentine’s Day, McAfee released the findings from its 2014 Love, Relationships & Technology survey. For the first time in Singapore, and the second time globally, the company examined how adults 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 or videos, naked photos or passcodes on these devices can potentially lead to cyber-stalking and the exposure of private content leaking online.
A total of 354 online interviews have been conducted by MSI Research in Singapore between end of December and mid of January 2014 among adults aged 18-54. While 99% of the respondents use their mobile device to take photos, 44% send or receive intimate content including video, photos, emails and messages.
Of those surveyed, 82% are securing their smartphone with a password or passcode. However, 42% of adult Singaporeans share their passwords with another individual, while 38% use the same password across multiple devices, increasing the likelihood that these mobile devices will become hacked.
“It’s always a risk to share passwords with others, yet people still do it. Not surprisingly then, we hear of stories where private and intimate content leaks out,” said Wahab Yusoff, Vice President, South Asia at McAfee. “People increasingly make themselves vulnerable to risks to their reputation when what is meant to be private becomes public, so it is prudent for consumers to step up their mobile security and protect themselves.”
Additional findings from the survey include:
- For your eyes only: 29% of 35 – 44 years olds receive 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 (58% men vs. 42% women). 64% percent of Singaporean adults say they stored intimate content that they have received in comparison to 58% who store risqué photos, videos or messages they have sent. Of those who have sent intimate or racy content, 83% have sent this content to their significant other, while only 8% of individuals have sent similar content to a total stranger.
- Privacy gender gap: According to the survey, more men than women protect their mobile devices (87% men vs. 76% women). Given the desire to protect their mobile devices and its content two-thirds of respondents are interested in purchasing biometric security embedded capabilities (e.g. face recognition, voice recognition, fingerprint recognition, etc.)
- The case of the ex: While over 90% of Singaporean adults surveyed trust their significant other with intimate content or otherwise private information they have sent, only 58% have asked their partner to delete the information when ending the relationship. In addition to sharing passwords, 62% share mobile phone content and 59% share email accounts. Yet, 73% of respondents have taken their partner’s mobile device to see other content stored on it, including messages and photos. Only 6% are likely to log into their significant other’s Facebook account at least once a month, and only a quarter of those surveyed admitted to stalking their significant other’s ex on social media.
- Public display of online affection: With more than 90% of respondents on a social media platform (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), of those who answered they would be celebrating Valentine’s Day on social media, two-thirds of respondents plan to post messages to others or post photos. Of those that responded, more men than women plan to celebrate their love on social media on Valentine’s Day (44% women vs. 56% men).
Take a look at the video:
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.
Happy Valentine’s Day!