As part of our ongoing research into consumer safety, we recently carried out our Lost In Transit study; a survey into when, where and how the average person loses a device that could potentially contain vital personal data.
We commissioned research agency Research Now to ask over 5,000 people in 11 countries across the globe a series of questions about which devices they own, which devices they’ve lost and the circumstances surrounding those losses.
The results contained some alarming statistics. While users of laptops (64%) and tablets are likely to password protect their device, a startling 61% of US respondents who had lost a smartphone answered that their lost device was NOT password protected.
As smartphones become more and more part of our day-to-day lives, we store a considerable amount of personal information on them. So nearly two-thirds of US smartphone users were potentially giving thieves access to their email, social profiles, bank details and more.
Couple this with the fact that 42% of smartphone users in the countries we surveyed had lost their phone in the past year and it’s clear that a worrying amount of personal data is up for grabs for opportunistic criminals.
Losing a device isn’t just a case of seeking reimbursement from an insurance company (although 62% of laptop owners and 74% of smartphone owners do not insure their devices), it also puts the owner’s personal data at quite serious risk.
During the holiday season, a disproportionately high number of devices are lost or stolen. In the UK, 36% of phone losses or thefts occur during the holidays, while in the US 34% of lost or stolen laptops go missing during the same period.
Much higher vigilance is clearly necessary over the festive season to ensure devices and the personal data they contain don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, laptops are small but relatively expensive items. Beyond the monetary value, the potential for personal data to be stolen is huge, and the effects much worse.
Luckily, AVG can help. Our free AVG Mobilation product offers far more than just virus protection. When you lose a device, AVG Mobilation (hyperlink to AVG Mobilation) can locate it.
If the device has been stolen (90% of stolen devices in the UK are never recovered), AVG Mobilation gives you the ability to flash a message up on the screen offering a return address or reward.
And if all other avenues have been exhausted, AVG Mobilation can lock and wipe the device, protecting all of your personal data and rendering the device unusable.
Here’s some helpful tips to keeping your smartphone safe
- Password protect it
- Ensure it has security software, preferably with a lock, locate and wipe feature – find out more at www.avgmobilation.com
- Store your phone in the same safe place. Always use that place, so you know where to check for it easily.
- Check the cab before you leave it after your Christmas party.
This survey was conducted for AVG by Research Now and questioned 5,620 adults in 11 countries across the globe. These were USA, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Canada, Czech Republic, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Full survey results can be found here Lost In Transit Results Tables