Smartphones: What to do if You Lose One

July 11th, 2012

Smartphones are important tools today, but what happens should you lose your phone?

The security risk of lost smartphones

The number of people who try to access private data when faced with a lost smartphone is unnerving. Researchers at Symantec created the “Smartphone Honey Stick Project” to examine this, and found that around 96 percent of people tried to gain access to personal information and 45 percent of people attempted to access the corporate e-mails on lost smartphones. The most unnerving part about this is the fact that smartphones are really easy to lose.

Human nature and smartphone tech

The Symantec study was in essence studying human nature. 50 smartphones were left in large cities in North America; namely New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Ottawa. The files the phones contained were fake and had enticing labels that include “online banking” and “saved passwords”.

The outcome was that 72 percent of people that found the phones, at the very least, accessed the photos. That number can be chalked up to the curious nature of humanity, but when you realize that 43 percent of people made an effort to open the “online banking” files things get a lot more concerning.

Protecting your smartphone

The Symantec study makes us realize that we have a lot of data on our smartphones that should be protected. Luckily, there are several easy ways to achieve this.

The most convenient way to secure the data on your smartphone is always to create a secure password. It may seem obvious, nevertheless you would be surprised at how many people don’t password protect their phones. There are also many apps that securely lock specific apps or files. A less obvious choice is to subscribe to a service that allows you to remotely wipe your smartphones memory. No matter which method you employ, it’s important that you take some method of securing your smartphone in the event of loss or theft.

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