Most Smartphone and Laptop Users Don't Use Login Passwords
Young adults are putting themselves at unnecessary risk by not using a password to protect themselves when surfing the web on mobile devices.
According to a study commissioned by security software maker AVG Technologies and Research Now, only 48 percent of 18-25 year-olds across the U.S., U.K., and Australia protect their laptops and mobile devices (such as an iPhone or iPad) with a password when accessing social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The data comes from the more than 1,000 18-25 year-olds surveyed in the first week of September.
Security experts warn that it is crucial to have a login password for your mobile device when accessing social media networks because of the sensitive information often shared on them and the access to personal contacts. Setting up a password for the device is a first line of defense against status jacking" -- when someone hacks into a user’s social media page and posts fake and often malicious status updates.
Keeping one's password a secret isn't top priority either: AVG discovered that 35 percent of young adults in the U.S. share their social media passwords with friends and family. That number jumped to 42 percent in both the UK and Australia. Broken down by gender, the survey showed that 42 percent of women under 25 share their password, compared to 28 percent of men.
Tony Anscombe, Ambassador of Free Products for AVG, spoke to the importance of taking the extra precautionary step of password protecting when in public.
“Sharing passwords can leave your social networks open to status jacking and leaves your other online accounts, such as banking, vulnerable to attack,” Anscombe said. “You only have to walk away from your mobile for a few minutes for someone to access your email, download your contacts, and to masquerade as you on a social network.”
The survey points to a lax mentality among young people regarding online security, and highlights the serious ramifications of this carefree approach.
Nine percent of people ages 18-25 in the U.S. have downloaded a virus through a social media network; the statistic is 12 percent in the U.K. and 15 percent in Australia.