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75 Million People Estimated Do Not Have Smartphone Passwords Set

According to Panda Security, a leading cloud-based security solutions company, a new TransUnion’s Cyber Security Survey indicated tens of millions of people in the US don’t have have passcodes set on their smartphones.

“Let us translate this for you – currently there are nearly 320 million people legally living in the USA with about 225 million of them being adults. More than two thirds of the adults living in the US have smartphones. If the statistics are right, a quick math shows there are more than 75 million people in the US whose smartphones don’t have their passcodes set on. This is scary!” Panda Security said in a statement.

According to Transunion, “the survey polled 1,263 consumers ages 18 and older about their experiences with and perceptions of cyber threats in anticipation of National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October. Despite increasing fear, nearly half of respondents don’t take common protective measures, such as locking their phone with a password (45 percent) and changing their passwords frequently (51 percent).

Panda Security said, “The survey confirmed Americans who feel extremely or very concerned about cyber threats have increased 20 percent since last year – from 46 percent in 2015 to 55 percent in 2016.” But, “despite the increasing fear, nearly 50 percent of the participants admit that they don’t take actions such as setting a password on their cell phones."

“If you think this is surprising,” Panda Security said, “the most shocking part of the survey is not the fact that its’ findings confirm the notion that we are constantly under cyber danger/attack– we already know that — the most shocking part is the facts that despite the increasing fear, nearly 50 percent of the participants admit that they don’t take actions to protect their content.”

“We all know what the consequences of identity theft are – unless you want a stranger buying a car in your name, or leasing a property in a city you’ve never heard of using your SSN, you should go find your phone and setup your password on, right now. Then add a recurring reminder on your calendar to change it frequently!” Panda Security stressed.

Transunion said, “The survey also found that males and females react differently to cyber threats. According to the data, 62 percent of men said they were concerned about their cyber security, compared to only 49 percent of women. However, women are more likely to take precautionary measures against cyber risks than men, with 74 percent of women reporting they regularly check their bank statements for fraudulent activity compared to only 67 percent of men.”

The survey also found that, “respondents reported feeling most susceptible to email hacking, with 40 percent ranking it as the greatest threat to their online security, followed by online credit card theft (38 percent) and cell phone theft (35 percent).

“Our survey reflects the growing fear among Americans about the threats to their personal and financial information. People are more vulnerable than ever to cyber threats and consumers must protect and closely monitor their information,” Transunion Vice President Heather Battison said in a statement accompanying the survey.

Disturbingly, the Transunion survey reported, “In addition, 83 percent of consumers are extremely, very or somewhat concerned about identity theft, defined as the misuse of one’s personal information for another’s economic gain. And, the survey identified a significant gap between how consumers believe they will respond to identity theft and their actual behavior when victimized. While most consumers said they would take reactive protective measures if they experienced a breach, few actually did.”

Transunion stressed that cell phone users “must password protect” their phones, pointing out that, “Cyber criminals can access your personal information, like photos, personal calls and banking applications, by installing applications on stolen phones. Use a password to protect your phone and create a barrier that makes it more difficult for others to access your information.”

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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