61pc of tablet computer owners have shared their PIN – survey

28 Feb 2013

The fourth-generation Apple iPad tablet computer

One-third of mobile phone or tablet owners have failed to protect their devices with a PIN or password, and most tablet owners have even shared their PIN with someone else, a global survey of 3,000 consumers by McAfee and One Poll suggests.

Some consumers who do use a PIN to protect the data on their mobile phones or tablet computers are still lax when it comes to security, according to the survey. Most consumers in the UK and Germany keep the first PIN they were given, consumers in France and the US are more likely to use their lucky numbers as a PIN, and one in 10 consumers use the same PIN across multiple devices and accounts.

Implementing a PIN or password is no guarantee that data on a tablet or mobile phone will remain safe, either, considering 55pc of survey respondents admitted they have shared their PIN or password with others.

Sixty-one per cent of tablet owners have shared their PIN versus 49pc of mobile phone owners, which suggests consumers value the data on their mobile phones more than that on their tablets.

Parents are even sharing the PIN number to their mobile devices with their children.

Almost half of the survey respondents said they allow their children access to their mobile or tablet, while one in six admit their child knows their PIN or password.

Ten per cent are even happy to share their password to iTunes or other app-purchasing sites to enable their kids to buy apps.

“It’s clear that consumers are forgetting exactly how much valuable information is stored on their mobile or tablet,” said Raj Samani, EMEA CTO, McAfee.

“These devices can contain personal data, like bank details and addresses, so it’s crucial that people take the same care they would with their wallet or computer. Failing to set a PIN or password is like leaving your front door open: Would you be surprised if you came home to find your PC missing?

“Our recent McAfee Consumer Trends Report shows that mobile devices are becoming increasingly attractive to cyber-criminals as they look for new ways to steal digital identities and commit fraud.”

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic