Symantec: Nearly All Found Smartphones Are Snooped Through

Anti-virus security firm Symantec has conducted a study that tests the reactions of strangers finding a person's smartphone - with most admitting to looking through them.

It's not a small number either. Of those finding personal smartphones, 96 per cent had a quick look through and just under 90 per cent snooped through personal information and related applications.

Now some of those people could be forgiven. If you want to find out the owner of the phone, a simple look through the contact list for any relatives would be one of the more obvious approaches. However, Symantec also reported that only half of those that found a smartphone actually attempted to contact the owner. This is despite there being a listing within the phone clearly labelled "me" with a phone number and email address.

Known as the Symantec Smartphone Honey Stick Project, the company deliberately 'lost' 50 smartphones in cities like New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and in Ottawa, Canada. They were left in shopping centres, lifts, transportation hubs and many other public locations where one might mislay a handset.

While Symantec is likely to recommend improved security on any device considering its business practice, this does highlight the need for at least some semblance of security. A traditional pin code is unlikely to cut it since anyone that decided to keep your device could quite easily pop out the attached storage card and have a look through your pictures and potentially any downloads you had made as well.