Study reveals majority of Canadian adults share intimate details via unsecured digital devices: McAfee study

Sixty (60) Per Cent of 18 - 24 Year Olds Receive Sexually Suggestive Content, and 30 Per Cent Share Passwords

MARKHAM, ON, Feb. 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, McAfee released findings from its 2014 Love, Relationships & Technology survey. For the second year in a row, the company examined how more than 1,500 consumers worldwide, including 575 Canadians, are sharing and storing intimate data on their mobile devices, especially with current or former significant others. The study highlights how sharing personal content such as sexts, naked photos, suggestive videos and passcodes on these devices can potentially lead to cyber-stalking and the exposure of private content leaking online.

Almost 97 per cent of Canadian smartphone owners use their mobile device to take photos, and 47 per cent send or receive intimate content including video, photos, emails and messages. Sixty-five (65) per cent of smartphone owners are securing their smartphone and 62 per cent are securing their tablet with a password or passcode, an increase of nearly five and two per cent respectively from last year's result. However, four in 10 Canadians are sharing their passwords with their significant others, and more than one third (35 per cent) of Canadian adults who password-protect their devices use the same passcode across multiple devices, increasing the likelihood that they will become hacked.

"With all the stories we've heard about intimate photos being leaked, it's hard to believe people are still sharing their passwords," says Brenda Moretto, Canadian Consumer Sales Manager at McAfee Canada. "Ultimately, they're increasing the risks of these photos becoming public and possibly jeopardizing their identity and reputation. Consumers must take precautions and use mobile security to ensure that what should be private stays private."

McAfee advises consumers not to share passwords or codes for mobile devices with others to help keep their content secure. Mobile users should avoid using weak passwords that can be easily determined such as birthdays, numbers in a row or repeat numbers for their devices. Rather, six-digit passcodes and words translated into numbers using your mobile keypad are stronger and should be utilized.

Additional findings from the survey include the following:

For Your Eyes Only

Sixty (60) per cent of 18 - 24 year olds receive sexually suggestive content from someone, the largest percentage of all age groups. More men are likely to use their mobile device to send and receive similar content (50 per cent men vs. 37 per cent women). Forty (40) per cent of Canadian adults say they stored intimate content that they received, in comparison to 30 per cent who store risqué photos, videos or messages they have sent. Of those surveyed, 41 per cent and 31 per cent of respondents who have sent intimate or racy content have sent it to their boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse respectively, while 16 per cent have sent similar content to a total stranger.

Privacy Gender Gap

According to the survey, more men than women protect their mobile devices (68 per cent men vs. 62 per cent women). Given the desire to protect their mobile devices and its content, seven out of 10 men are interested in purchasing biometric security embedded capabilities (e.g. face recognition, voice recognition, fingerprint recognition, etc).

The Case of the Ex

While 98 per cent of Canadian adults surveyed trust their significant other with intimate content or private information, one quarter (25 per cent) have asked their partner to delete the information when ending the relationship. In addition to sharing passwords, 48 per cent share mobile content and 44 per cent share email passwords. Still, 23 per cent of respondents have taken their partner's mobile device to see other content stored on it, including messages and photos. Of respondents with a significant other, 42 per cent have logged into their significant other's Facebook account, and of them, men are more likely to track their significant others than are women. Only one in four of those surveyed admitted to stalking their significant other's ex on social media, with 18 - 24 year olds being the top age group.

Public Display of Online Affection

Nearly 93 per cent of respondents maintain accounts on a social media platform (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Of those who answered they would be celebrating Valentine's Day on social media, 78 per cent of respondents plan to post messages to others while more than half (52 per cent) will post photos. Of those that responded, more men than women plan to celebrate their love on social media on Valentine's Day (21 per cent men vs. 14 per cent women).

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About the study
The Futures Company conducted a total of 575 online interviews in Canada among adults ages 18-54. Interviews among respondents were split evenly by age and gender. The interviews were conducted from December 3 - December 16, 2013. 

About McAfee
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe.

McAfee Canada is headquartered in Markham, Ontario, with regional offices across Canada. The company's Consumer Software Research and Development facility is based in Waterloo, Ontario.

Note: McAfee is a registered trademark of McAfee, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

McAfee Canada maintains a website called "The State of Consumer and Enterprise Security in Canada" ( in order to provide a one-stop shop for writers looking for information on a variety of trends and issues affecting and shaping the Canadian security landscape. Feel free to check out the McAfee Canada resource site for security information, statistics, story ideas, and access to published McAfee surveys and studies.

Image with caption: "McAfee's 2014 Love, Relationships and Technology survey reveals that almost half (47 per cent) of Canadians are sending and receiving sexual content, and 42 per cent of them currently have this content saved on their mobile devices. (CNW Group/McAfee, Inc.)". Image available at:

SOURCE: McAfee, Inc.

For further information:

Dianna Lai / Ryan Patrick
StrategicAmpersand Inc. (for McAfee Canada)

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