The internet security giants McAfee recently conducted a survey under the heading ‘Love, Relationship and Technology'. They put the replies of 1,500 customers under the spotlight, in order to test prevailing online trends. As might have been expected, the results of this survey threw up some very interesting facts and figures.
One of the subjects covered in the survey questions concerned exactly how much personal information consumers were prepared to fire off into the world-wide web where their relationships were concerned. Also, by the same token, respondents were asked about intimate data they were happy with keeping in the hard-drives (or Cloud drives) of their computers, or hand-held devices. Amongst the conclusions arrived at were that a growing number of digital users were indulging in ‘risque activity', such as sex texts (or sexting), sharing naked photographs, or passing on suggestive videos or audio files. This, in turn, was giving rise to complaints about cyber-stalking, not to mention the potentially crushing embarrassment of any of this material finding its way into the public domain.
Of those participating in the survey, a vast majority (over 98%) stated they had used their mobile devices to take photographs. A smaller, but still substantial amount (54%) admitted to transmitting content that would be described as ‘intimate'. This itself covered everything from sensitive photographs or video clips to passwords. Additionally, 42% of those surveyed admitted to using one password over multiple devices, despite the recommendations from all service providers that this activity makes these mobile devices far riper prospects for phone hackers. This figure of 42% was actually up from last year's survey by one-third.
The age group where suggestive content was most prevalent was, predictably, 18-24 year olds. Of these, male users were more likely to get involved in this type of activity than females (the ratio split along the respective lines of 61% compared to 48%).
45% of all adults admitted to storing explicit data in their devices that they had received, while only 40% admitted to sending this material. Perhaps this indicates a tendency to feel guilty about transmitting these texts or images, resulting in them being deleted by the sender; while the receivers are more likely to hang on to them.
McAfee's survey has highlighted the need for continual education about the perils of online activity. There is a whole raft of advice available about ensuring passwords for mobile devices are as cast iron as possible, avoiding the use of birthdays, nicknames, pet names, consecutive letters or numbers, or repeat numbers. Far better to use random variations of letters, capital letters, numbers and symbols.