Lost phone means lost privacy

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Last updated April 12, 2019

To lose your cell phone results in a very good chance that you will lose your privacy too, according to a new study. Research suggests that should you lose your new or old cell phone, there is a 96 percent chance that whoever finds it will access it, and an 89 percent probability that they will use it to find personal information and apps, the study, which was commissioned by privacy software company Symantec Corp, has revealed.

The study also suggests that there is just a 50/50 chance that whoever finds the phone will make an effort to return it to its rightful owner. These conclusions were arrived at by Symantec after conducting an experiment in which 50 smart-phones were deliberately ‘lost’ in cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Ottawa in Canada. The phones had been preloaded with fake applications that would be immediately recognizable to whoever found them, as well as coming complete with a GPS tracking device plus the ability to transmit data, including when an application was opened, to a central database.

The phones were left in high traffic areas such as the likes of shopping malls, public transit stops and food courts, with depressing results. As many as six out of ten finders tried to view email and social media information on the phones, while eight out of ten attempted to access fake corporate data that had been loaded out onto the phones. Fifty percent of the finders even tried to access a phone-linked bank account.