Why leaving a shared device unprotected is dangerous

According to a survey jointly executed by B2B International and Kaspersky Lab, 32 per cent of respondents who share an Internet-enabled device with their relatives, colleagues or friends do not take any precautions to protect their information.

They see no risks associated with sharing these devices even though it can significantly increase the chances of data stored on the device being lost or stolen. In fact, the more people that use a device, the greater the probability of one of them making a mistake and falling for a cybercriminal’s trick.

Today, the owner of a computer, phone or tablet is often not the only person who uses that device to access the Internet – one respondent in three reported sharing devices. 28 per cent of respondents share devices with other adults in their household, five per cent give them to their children, while one per cent even allow colleagues and other acquaintances to use their devices. These statistics apply to devices which are most often used to access the Internet, which means they are most likely to hold valuable data, such as account logins and passwords.

Leaving a shared device unprotected is extremely dangerous – nobody can be entirely sure that other users are sufficiently aware of cyber threats: an inexperienced user may fall for a scammers’ bait or download a malicious executable file.

At the same time, 32 per cent of those respondents who share their computers, phones and tablets with others do not take any security measures, because they “do not see any risks’. Only 33 per cent of users make backup copies of important data before giving a device to somebody else, 32 per cent password-protect their data and 22 per cent try not to store any important information on such devices.

“Sharing a computer or smartphone increases the risk of malware infection, data loss or account theft, so it is important to take precautions. Always keep backup copies of important files; delete information that should not fall into the wrong hands, especially by disabling form autofill; try to control user access rights on the device and – most importantly – use programs that provide protection against cyber threats,” suggested Elena Kharchenko, Head of Consumer Product Management, Kaspersky Lab.

Don't miss