Do you think a polite Canadian would still profusely apologize for snooping through a person’s private information on their lost smartphone?
In an experiment titled ‘The Honey Stick Project’ 60 smartphones were loaded with decoy data (including corporate information, bank accounts and personal photos) and were intentionally lost across Canada in six major cities to see what would happen if a stranger found one. The chances of having the phone returned were a little better than a 50/50 chance, but almost 100 per cent of the phones were at least rifled through for personal information by the finder.
Vancouver, surprisingly, topped the list as least likely to make an attempt to return a lost phone – with only three offers to find the original owner.
Other top stats from the project across all the major cities (which included Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax):
- 33 out of 60 devices were offered to be returned, despite the fact that the owner’s contact information was displayed clearly in the Contacts app
- 63 per cent of finders accessed corporate information and 83 per cent access personal information
- 7 per cent of devices showed no signs of any data whatsoever being accessed
So in which Canadian city is your private information in the most danger? Across the board in categories including trying to access passwords, cloud-based documents and log-in pages Toronto beat out the competition with 90 per cent of Torontonians accessing private photos and 60 per cent looking at HR salary information. Meanwhile, in Calgary, 70% of Calgarians attempted to return the phone.
As for the most common places you can lose your phone? The bus, a restaurant or bar and the roof of a car top the list according to a piece done by The Fast Company.
The project makes it clear that as smartphone usage becomes completely engraved into our daily lives, that taking measures to safeguard personal and professional material is of the utmost importance. Recommended tips include proper password protection and setting up remote locking and wiping capabilities in the case of loss.
The bottom line in the case of a stolen phone is even if it is successfully returned to you, assume that your personal and professional history has been compromised.
You can read the full report on The Honey Stick Project at Symantec.
Image: Digital Trends