Most US adults share intimate content on unsecured devices: McAfee

  • 70% of 18- to 24-year-olds in US receive sexually suggestive content from someone
  • 30% of those surveyed admit to stalking their significant other’s ex on social media
Most US adults share intimate content on unsecured devices: McAfee

OVER half of adults send or receive intimate content including video, photos, emails and messages, according to a survey by McAfee.
The company recently released its 2014 Love, Relationships & Technology survey, which examines how consumers are sharing and storing intimate data on their mobile devices, especially with current or former 'significant others.'
The survey polled 1,500 consumers in the United States, and found that 98% of respondents use their mobile device to take photos, while 54% send or receive intimate content.
Of those surveyed, 69% are securing their smartphone with a password or passcode, a 30% increase from last year’s result. However, 46% of American 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.
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, McAfee said in a statement.
“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's consumer business.
Additional findings from the survey include:

Most US adults share intimate content on unsecured devices: McAfeeFor your eyes only

Seventy percent of 18- to 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 American adults say they stored intimate content that they have received in comparison with 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.

Privacy gender gap

According to the survey, more men than women protect their mobile devices (74% men vs. 65% women). Given the desire to protect their mobile devices and its content, more than two-thirds of men are interested in purchasing biometric security embedded capabilities (e.g. face recognition, voice recognition, fingerprint recognition, etc.)

The case of the ex

While 96% of American adults surveyed trust their significant other with intimate content or otherwise private information they have sent, only 32% have asked their partner to delete the information when ending the relationship.

In addition to sharing passwords, 50% share mobile phone content and 48% share email accounts. Yet, a quarter of respondents have taken their partner’s mobile device to see other content stored on it, including messages and photos.

One in five people are likely to log into their significant other’s Facebook account at least once a month, and only 30% of those surveyed admitted to stalking their significant other’s ex on social media, with 18- to 24-year-olds being the top age group.

Public display of online affection

With 91% 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, 76% of respondents plan to post messages to others while 58% will post photos.

Of those that responded, more women than men plan to celebrate their love on social media on Valentine’s Day (80% women vs. 72% men). 
“Ultimately, they’re increasing the risks of these photos becoming public and possibly jeopardising their identity and reputation. Consumers must take precautions and use mobile security to ensure that what should be private stays private,” McAfee's Davis said. 
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 used, the company said.

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