As digital devices become a staple of people’s every day lives, personal and private information is increasingly at risk.
According to a recent Kaspersky Lab consumer survey, people overwhelmingly store sensitive information on their device and don't have any security measures in place.
In fact, nearly half (48%) of users store their email and online account passwords and login details on them, and over a quarter (28%) use them to store financial data including bank details, payment credentials and PIN codes.
Having this information at their fingertips when logging into an account or paying a bill online might be convenient for the user, but it also makes these devices hugely attractive and potentially lucrative for cyber criminals, Kaspersky Lab says.
Smartphones are the most popular device on which to store private data - including email messages, contact details and sensitive information - for 9 out of 10 respondents (87%), closely followed by computers (84%) and tablets (76%).
However, despite the increase in storage of personal information on digital devices, 2 out of 5 (17%) tablet users still admit to having neither password protection nor any security solution for their device, which is also true for 13% of smartphone users and 3% of computer users.
For these users, their trusted devices could easily become their digital frenemies – giving up their secrets and exposing confidential information, says Kaspersky Lab.
This lack of cyber savviness and failure to protect devices, should they fall into the wrong hands, is further compounded by another recent Kaspersky Lab quiz.
It found that only 8% of users delete private information from their devices immediately and only 2 in 5 (17%) people create password-protected folders for their personal and sensitive information.
A mere 7% encrypt data from prying eyes.
Furthermore, over a quarter (27%) of users believe they have no confidential information at all, despite the fact that almost all users store their passwords, browser history, contact lists, messages and much more on their devices - all of which should remain confidential, Kaspersky Lab says.
Victor Yablokov, Kaspersky Lab head of mobile product line, says, “With the use of digital devices intrinsically linked to our offline world, consumers are entrusting more information to their smartphones, tablets and computers without a second thought.
“This change in lifestyle has not necessarily led to a change in mind-set however, with the safety of this information often overlooked in favour of ease of access and convenience.
“Protecting your confidential data and mobile devices with security solutions and passwords is essential to keeping the cyber criminals out in the cold and your personal data remaining private.”
To protect digital devices, Kaspersky Lab recommends people always set strong passwords for devices and for their online accounts, install a security solution and take care when accessing websites and downloading apps, particularly over insecure Wi-Fi networks.