Love, Trust and Text Messages in the Digital Age

Roses are red, violets are blue, but does your security matter to your loved one too?

Okay, so maybe my rhyme needs a little work, but the substance is there: when we share personal information in real life, even with loved ones, we run the risk of exposing our most personal details with the world.

I’m not just talking about your deepest darkest secrets; I’m talking about information that can be used to gain access to bank accounts, social media profiles, your computer, and personal images you just might not want shared. Accordingly to a recent McAfee survey that looks at how couples communicate digitally, those risks are very real.

According to the survey*, 45% of respondents from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Singapore said they know their significant other’s password for their personal email or computer; 56% know the password to their partner’s Facebook profile; and 42% know the password to their significant other’s cell phone.

The survey found that amongst respondents who share intimate media with their significant others, a whopping 69% said they fear their personal content could one day be leaked or shared without permission. These are legitimate privacy concerns.

But there are precautions you can take in order to make sure your digital privacy is secure, even from those you who may come and go in your life. Here are a few examples:

  • Think before sharing: Don’t share passwords with anyone, including significant others and family members. If you need to share it, create a unique code just for that account, and change it immediately if you suspect it has been compromised. Share a date, not your data.
  • Put a PIN on it: If you value the contents on your mobile device, be sure to include a PIN or passcode so if it becomes lost or stolen, people will not be able to access your information and publish it online.
  • Pick a sassy password: Use strong passwords that won’t be easily determined or replace some of your passwords with a facial recognition service like True Key. The word Password, the phrase “I Love You”, birthdays, numbers in a row, etc. are not good passwords.
  • Definitely delete!: If you send personal or intimate messages, make sure to delete the content from your device as soon as possible. It can save you from years of damage control for your reputation later on. Better yet, save the personal for in person.
  • The Internet is forever: Once you share, post, tweet, etc. your private information is often available to the public and out of your control.

Communicating online with our loved ones can be fun and bring us closer together. Think before you share and enjoy a long lasting, safe and private Valentine’s Day!

To stay on top of the latest privacy news, follow myself and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook.


*The online survey, commissioned by McAfee, was conducted by MSI International between January 29-February 3, 2015. The survey polled 2,507 adults ages 18-54 who are online and use Internet-connected devices in North America (US), Asia Pacific (Australia, Singapore), and Latin America (Brazil, Mexico).


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