McAfee: Sharing personal data with loved ones may be a bad idea

Infotech Lead Asia: McAfee shared the results of the company’s 2013 Love, Relationships, and Technology survey which reveals the dangers of sharing personal data in relationships. The survey discloses how breakups can lead to privacy leaks online. The study urges consumers to be careful with personal data and urges them to protect themselves from cyber-stalking and exposure of private information.

The study revealed that 86 percent of smartphone owners have personal and intimate information on their mobile devices. This included bank account information, passwords, credit card numbers and revealing photos. Only 79 percent have password protection on their devices. Underestimating the importance of personal data protection results in exposure.

“We’re all aware of the cases involving celebrities, but you don’t have to be a celebrity to have your personal information exposed,” said Lubna Markar, senior marketing manager, McAfee India & South Asia. “Sharing passwords with your partner might seem harmless, but it often puts you at risk for a ‘revenge of the ex’ situation, landing private information in a public platform for all to see. Everyone needs to be aware of the risks and take the steps to make sure their personal data is safe and secure.”

Personal data protection

 One of the top findings from the survey were that despite public awareness about data leaks and high profile celebrity photo scandals, Indians continue to be careless with personal data by sharing personal information and intimate photos with their partners and friends. The research shows that 96 percent of Indians trust their partners with personal data and revealing photos.

McAfee has found that 77 percent of adults have had their personal content leaked to others without their permission. Additionally, 3 in 10 ex-partners have blackmailed their ex that they would expose risqué photos of them online.

Of those surveyed the reasons people gave or exposing personal data of their ex were that their ex lied (38 percent), cheated (48 percent), broke up with them (41 percent), called off the wedding (23 percent), posted pictures with someone else (15 percent) and other reasons (3 percent).

About half of the population has regretted sending such intimate content after a break up. 49 percent of people have even asked their ex-partner to delete all personal content.

Despite the obvious risks, 53 percent Indians still plan to send sexy or romantic photos to their partners via email, text and social media on Valentine’s Day. Of these, 60 percent were Mumbaiites, 51.8 percent Delhiites and 47 percent were Chennai residents.

A majority of Indians who knew their partner’s passwords admitted that they snoop and check  their partners’ emails, bank accounts and social media pages. Over 73 percent of people surveyed said they check their significant others’ social media pages and 44 percent check their bank accounts. Nearly 72 percent log in to scan their partners’ emails. The survey also revealed that around 47 percent of respondents track their ex-partner on Facebook and 49 percent check on their current partner.

Not only revealing photos, 23 percent of adults have had their personal content leaked to others without their permission. Bank account numbers (63 percent), health insurance ID’s (64 percent), email accounts (75 percent), and passwords (47 percent) have all been shared with relationship partners.

Thankfully, majority of Indians password protect their smartphones (86 percent).  This offers data safety from anyone who picks up the device to access their private content. 78 percent said that they regularly back up or save the content on their smartphones and an impressive 98 percent Indians said they delete any personal or intimate text messages emails and photos regularly.

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