Digital lovers in a dangerous time

With less than two weeks until Valentine’s Day, security vendor McAfee (soon to be Intel Security) has released the findings of its 2014 Love, Relationships & Technology survey and, as Bruce Cockburn would say, it’s a story of lovers in a dangerous time.

The study looked at how 1,500 global consumers, including 575 Canadians, are sharing and storing intimate data on their mobile devices, examining the sharing of sexts, naked photos, suggestive videos and passcodes.

How many lovers are getting racy on their devices? While 97 per cent of Canadian smartphone owners take pictures with their mobile devices – no surprise there – 47 per cent admitted to sending or receiving intimate content, such as racy video, photos, emails and messages. With just 65 per cent of smartphone owners and 62 per cent of tablet owners securing their devices with a password, that’s a lot of insecure intimate material. And many who do use passwords share them with their significant others or use the same password across multiple devices.

“With all the stories we’ve heard about intimate photos being leaked, it’s hard to believe people are still sharing their passwords,” said Brenda Moretto, Canadian consumer sales manager at McAfee Canada, in a statement. “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.”

Other nuggets from the survey: 18-24 year olds are the most likely to have received sexually explicit content from someone at 60 per cent, 40 per cent of Canadian men (vs. 37 per cent of women) use their devices to send intimate content, and 16 per cent say they’ve sent racy content to a total stranger. Men are more likely to protect their devices than women, and 70 per cent of men say they’d purchased embedded biometric security features like facial recognition.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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