Many phones unprotected despite racy content

by | Feb 24, 2014 | Life

Sarah MacNeil
Life Reporter

Students should think twice before sending racy text ­­messages and photos to lovers and friends.

A new study by McAfee security revealed 60 per cent of young people receive sexually suggestive information via smartphone.

Hassan Shoaiy, a community integration student at Humber said his phone is not password protected so he does not worry about sharing.

Other students approach smartphone security differently.

“My phone has password-protect and fingerprint identification, so I’m not worried about sharing photos,” said Anita Zych, a Bachelor of Nursing student at Humber College.

The survey, which is called Love, Relationships and Technology, showed although 65 per cent of young people use a password to protect their phone, 40 per cent of this group shares this password with significant others.

“Passwords should not be shared with anyone. It does not matter if they are your boyfriend or your best friend,” said Rob Kilfoyle, director of Public Safety and Emergency Management at Humber North.

When a relationship ends negatively, people find themselves scrambling to make sure their ex does not expose any personal information, said Robert Siciliano, a spokesperson for McAfee.

Siciliano said students need to treat their password like banking information and keep it to themselves although it may seem harmless.

“Sharing intimate details puts a person at risk of being victimized by someone threatening to expose this content online,” said Siciliano.

Intimate photographs and text messages can be used for revenge or to exert control by a cyber-stalker or an ex, Siciliano said.

One in four young people admit to stalking others on social media, the survey said.

The survey was conducted online and targeted Canadians between 18 to 24 years old from Dec. 3 to 16, 2013.

“A good rule of thumb is if it’s not something you want your future boss or grandmother to see, it’s better not to share it at all,” said Siciliano.

Students should change their password as often as possible especially if they are sharing intimate information, Kilfoyle said.

Passwords should be a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, said Siciliano.

“If a person has to guess your password, it makes the process more difficult and time consuming,” he said.

Students can report smartphone security concerns to Public Safety on Humber North campus.
Kilfoyle encourages students to follow up with the Toronto Police if the issue escalates.