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Consumer Reports: 39 Percent of Smart Phone Users Don’t Secure Their Phones

I can’t think of any lawyers who don’t depend on their smart phones to stay in touch with their offices or their employees or other people associated with business. We use e-mail, address books, calendars, and more. But do we backup that information? Do we secure it from prying eyes in case we lose our phones? Some do, some don’t.

I’m fortunate to use both an iPhone and a Mac computer. This makes it easy for me to backup and synchronize information between my phone and my computer using iCloud. I could also use iCloud to locate my phone if I were to misplace it. But I have to admit that until recently I didn’t use password-protection on my phone. It was just too burdensome for a lazy lawyer. I finally read enough articles warning about lost data that I have started using password protection. It’s a pain to enter those four digits every time I use my phone, and now I’m eager to get a newer one that uses fingerprint authentication.

This article from Consumer Reports points out how few of use really take phone security seriously. Here are excerpts:

Smart phones are fast replacing home computers for many daily online activities. But 39 percent of the more than 100 million American adult smart phone owners failed to take even minimal security measures to protect their phone, the latest Consumer Reports State of the Net survey found. The survey projects that at least 7.1 million phones were irreparably damaged, lost, or stolen and not recovered last year.

Here are some examples of how few users protected their phones:

  • 36 percent used a screen-lock of any kind (4 digits or stronger).
  • 31 percent had backed-up their data, such as photos or contacts.
  • 22 percent had installed software that could locate a missing phone.
  • 7 percent had installed software that could erase the contents of a missing phone.

Other highlights from our findings include:

  • Malicious software is a real threat to smart phones. Last year, 5.6 million users experienced symptoms of such software, our survey projects.
  • Many users who wanted to turn off their phone’s location-tracking feature to protect their privacy didn’t know how to do so. For instructions on how to disable location tracking, as well as other phone security tips, see our video.
  • Apps are often too intrusive. Roughly 48 million users had stopped installing an app last year because it requested too many privileges, our survey suggests. To try your hand at spotting intrusive apps, try our interactive quiz.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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