Survey: Thirty percent of smartphone owners don't use passwords

Survey: Thirty percent of smartphone owners don't use passwords
Tech Corner

POSTED: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 7:30am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 7:34am

More than three out of every 10 smartphone owners don't have a password on the device that could give easy access to their e-mail, bank account, credit card information and other sensitive info.

That's one of the findings of a recent worldwide survey by Web security company McAfee.

On top of that, 15 percent of people surveyed said they save password information on their phones to apps and websites they use and more than half (55 percent) who do have passwords said they've shared those passwords with others.

"The unfortunate reality is that everyone loses things, and our devices can get stolen," Robert Siciliano, an identity-theft specialist at McAfee, wrote in a blog post about the findings. " And when that happens to your smartphone or tablet, it can be devastating."

In all, 36 percent of respondents said they don't have a phone password. And women are slightly less likely to password-protect their phones. Some 54 percent of those who said they don't were women.

Guys aren't blameless, though. Out of all the respondents who said they "hide" passwords to websites and apps in the Notes app on their phone, 62 percent were men.

"Many of us use upwards of 10 apps on our devices during a typical week," Siciliano wrote. "The majority of these apps are logged into our most critical accounts including e-mail, text, banking, social media, payment apps and others that are linked to our credit cards.

"And because mobile app developers know that we are more apt to use their programs if they are easy to access and convenient to use, a lot of apps are programmed to automatically keep you logged in for days, weeks, months or until you manually revoke access."

He offered some basic tips for protecting data on your phone. Among them:

-- Password-protect all your devices and don't use easy ones such as "1-2-3-4" or "1-1-1-1."

-- Never use the "remember me" function on sensitive apps or your Web browser and remember to log out of those apps when you're done with them.

-- Consider not sharing your password, even with family members. "This might be a tough one," he concedes.

-- Predictably, use a mobile security product -- such as McAfee's. 

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