Users are putting their valuable and sensitive data (Precious Data) at risk by sharing information and physical devices containing information with others. The report of Kaspersky Lab My Precious Data: Stranger Danger shedding light on data sharing habits and revealing that people sharing their data and devices are experiencing much more difficult digital lives than those who do not share them - coping with data losses and troublesome devices.
People who share their data with others are more likely to experience difficulties in their digital lives - for example, almost half of users who share their data online have experienced data loss on their smartphones (47%). However, the chances of data loss are relatively limited among those who do not share their data with others - only 13% of them have lost information from their smartphones.
The risks of sharing data are even greater for those sharing their information with foreigners, with 59% of smartphone users sharing data with strangers admitting that they have experienced data loss.
People who share their valuable data online have also reported a wide range of problems with their devices. Concerning the smartphones, the most common problems include embarrassing ads (51%, compared to 25% of non-shared users), battery problems (41%, compared to 17% of people not sharing), apps running on their device without their approval (19%, compared to 6% of non-shared users), and malware infections (14%, compared to 4% of non-shared people).
These findings illustrate a strong relationship between data sharing issues and device problems, with data sharing being more likely to experience a more difficult digital life compared to those who do not.
In addition, the research shows the same correlation for people who left their physical devices in the hands of others, e.g. handing over their smartphone to others for a period of time, leaving their devices in a public place without being locked, giving the PIN etc. These users are also more likely to experience data loss - for example, more than half (65%) who share their smartphone with others have also experienced data loss on their smartphones, compared to 34% of those who do not.
"Our research shows that when people digitize their data digitally, they are more likely to face device problems and lose data, making their digital life more difficult, commented Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business, Kaspersky Lab. "This problem is exacerbated when users share their digital devices with others or with strangers altogether. We know that users are unlikely to stop sharing the valuable data they love with other people on the Internet - this is one of the benefits of the online world. This is why it is so important for everyone to be better aware of the potential risks to which their data and devices may be exposed. We encourage people to choose protection that adapts to their needs, regardless of the environment they may use. This approach identifies complex and targeted threats and offers users tips to help reduce potential damage to their data and devices - letting people enjoy everything the digital world has to offer.
The exhibition My Precious Data: Stranger Danger is based on an online survey conducted by Toluna and Kaspersky Lab in January of 2017. The survey evaluated the 16.250 internet user behaviors over 16 years from 17 countries around the world.