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Majority of Adults Share Intimate Details Via Unsecured Digital Devices

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Over half of smartphone users are using their camera to take or receive intimate content including video, photos, emails and messages, but many are also not locking their phones securely in case they are lost or stolen.

A McAfee study highlights how sharing personal content on these devices can potentially lead to cyber-stalking and the exposure of private content leaking online.

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."

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.

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 U.S. 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).


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