In the past year, over one-in-four young Internet users have lost their devices (17 per cent) or had their devices stolen (13 per cent), with a third losing access to their online accounts, or suffering from a loss of data privacy as a result. According to the research from Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, young users lose devices more frequently than older adults.
Whilst one-in-seven users (14 per cent) overall has experienced the loss or theft of a device, this figure rises to 26 per cent among users under the age of 24. Of the 16 to 24 year olds affected, 83 per cent say they suffered negative consequences afterwards, slightly higher than the overall average of 77 per cent.
A third (32 per cent) of 16-24 year olds have had their online accounts hacked as a result (compared to 27 per cent on average). One-in-four has suffered the permanent loss of precious personal images and videos (25 per cent), along with the leaking of personal and sensitive information (24 per cent).
A fifth of users overall were disciplined at work after having their device lost or stolen because the device in question contained business data (22 per cent). In addition, a fifth noticed that financial details stored on the device had been misused (21 per cent).
When affected by loss or theft, to protect themselves, only four-in-ten blocked the device through their mobile operator or reported the incident to the police. Additionally, only 29 per cent remotely wiped the device or tried to track it down using ‘find my device’ software (15 per cent).
Commenting on the findings, David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said, “Mobile devices have become central to our lives, even more so with the current generation of ‘digital natives’. The vast majority of us store sensitive personal information on mobiles, whether that’s pictures of our loved ones, personal email messages, passwords to access our online bank account or other aspects of our daily lives.
"Unlike a traditional computer or laptop, a smartphone provides unrestricted access to our online accounts such as e-mail, social networks, etc. – without the need for individual passwords. So, a weak PIN or passcode becomes a single point of failure, opening up our whole life to anyone who is able to gain access to the device.”
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