Research from Kaspersky Lab unveils a nation of phone snoops, as Brits clamp down on their partners’ secrets
With the office Christmas party on our doorstep, more of us will be tempted to send a flirty message to a colleague after a glass or two. However, the latest research from Kaspersky Lab warns our smartphones are more likely than ever to expose our secrets. According to its study of 2,000 UK adults, 41 per cent admitted they know the PIN to their partner’s phone and 40 per cent said they would snoop through their partner’s phone if they suspected them of being unfaithful.
Women are amongst the worst culprits, with half (49 per cent) admitting they would snoop on their partner’s phone, compared to a third (30 per cent) of men.
Kirill Slavin, General Manager of the UK and Ireland at Kaspersky Lab explains, “With the increasing functionality of smartphones, consumers are treating their devices like a private corner of their lives, entrusting them with personal information that they don’t want anyone else – even their loved ones – to see. In fact, we’ve found that 24 per cent of us share secrets with our phones. This might include important information like online banking and emails, but also potentially incriminating images from the Christmas party and the occasional secret sext. All of these could leave us vulnerable if they are not properly protected.”
Snooping habits are likely to alarm one in five Brits (20 per cent), who admitted they would send a secret sext to someone else, if they thought they wouldn’t get caught out. For men, alcohol may well be the catalyst; with 21 per cent having sent a saucy message via text, social media or email to someone other than their partner whilst under the influence, compared to only 13 per cent of women.
“Just five years ago, social media and text messages were rarely mentioned in the context of a marriage ending, but now it has become common for couples to cite these as a reason for divorce,” comments Andrew Newbury, Head of Family Law at law firm Slater and Gordon. “The growing popularity of social media and text messaging has drastically changed the way we live our lives. We are finding these technologies have made cyber-flirting the new marriage minefield and they are now being routinely raised in the course of divorce proceedings.”
Joanne Barnett, relationship coach, comments, “Apps such as Tinder and Grinder are certainly making affairs more accessible, as casual sex is only one click away. With Christmas parties coming up, alcohol will be flowing, outfits become far more risqué, and some of us will be in the mood for a little bit of naughtiness, which can cause friction in a relationship. A large percentage of arguments between couples can be avoided if you come to an early agreement about trust and privacy. If you are not willing to share your phone PIN, you need to then have a healthy conversation about who you are in touch with and what social sites you are on.”
As we use our smartphones to store confidential data about ourselves, it’s surprising how few of us take steps to protect our data from prying eyes. According to the survey, 60 per cent of people admit that they don’t have additional password protection on their email account and over half (56 per cent) don’t have it for their Facebook account, leaving them open to awkward interrogation once a third party (or their partner) has entered the correct PIN.
“It’s time we took the protection of our smartphones seriously. They hold important personal information that, in many cases, is only protected by a four-digit code, which recent studies have revealed take less than a day to hack, compared to a six-digit pin which takes around two months. If these devices fall into the wrong hands, they can leave our entire lives exposed. And when it comes to the minefield of relationships, it only takes one dodgy Christmas party photo, and a suspicious partner with access to your PIN to unravel your secret sexting habits,” concludes Slavin.
[su_box title=”About Kaspersky Lab” style=”noise” box_color=”#336588″]Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.[/su_box]