66 Percent of U.S. Consumers Have Given Their Phone Passcodes to Others


A recent Keepsafe survey [PDF] of 1,000 U.S. consumers found that 66 percent have given their phone passcode to someone else, and 74 percent have handed their phone to someone unlocked, leaving themselves exposed to privacy breaches.

Forty-eight percent of respondents said they've given their unlocked phone to a stranger to have them take a photo, and 82 percent said a stranger had given them an unlocked phone to take a photo.

One in four respondents said something embarrassing has popped up on their phone while someone else was holding it.

Despite using their phones for activities such as mobile banking, shopping apps and work emails, 50 percent of respondents don't believe they have any content or information on their phone that they wouldn't want someone else to see -- and 70 percent of respondents think the personal content and information on their mobile device is only somewhat private or not private at all.

"Think about it this way: would you leave valuables lying around the house when you have given multiple people the keys or even worse, never lock the door?" Keepsafe CEO Zouhair Belkoura said in a statement. "This research uncovered the risks people take with their personal information when they casually share their mobile passcodes or hand their phones to others."

Separately, a recent Wandera report uncovered more than 200 mobile websites and apps leaking personally identifiable information, including reputable sites and apps such as Royal Mail, Fox Sports Australia and Thalys.

The vast majority of leaks exposed sensitive information such as email/username (90 percent) and password/hash (86 percent).

More than 59 percent of all leaks were from three categories: Business & Industry, News & Sports, and Technology.

"Mobile is well and truly the new frontier for data security," Wandera CEO Eldar Tuvey said in a statement. "It's clear that security and compliance risks are far more formidable threats than previously thought."

"With the reported cost of remedying a mobile breach in the U.S. falling between $250,000 to $400,000 in many cases, enterprises need to take concrete steps to routinely monitor the data that flows to and from each individual device, identify potential security gaps and dynamically respond," Tuvey added.

And a Xura survey [PDF] of 1,667 mobile network subscribers in the U.S., U.K. and Australia found that only 30 percent of respondents are aware of any security weaknesses in mobile phone networks.

"SS7 (Signaling System 7) is a core technology used by telecoms networks globally," Xura Security strategy and marketing director Mark Windle said in a statement. "SS7, however, contains vulnerabilities that can be exploited to carry out a whole host of malicious activities, from triggering fraudulent calls or texts to be sent to premium rate services at the subscriber's expense, to location tracking and call/SMS interception."

Thirty-two percent of respondents said they never check their balance or bill to make sure they've been charged correctly or to check for suspicious activity.

Still, if they became a victim of mobile cybercrime, 49 percent of respondents said they would seek compensation from their mobile network operator -- and 29 percent would change their network provider either immediately (22 percent) or at the next renewal date (7 percent).

A recent eSecurity Planet article looked at the 10 trickiest mobile security threats.