Trust and Relationships in the Mobile Era

Love is in the air…and, unfortunately, so is betrayal, as people get ready to share their hearts and more via their mobile devices this Valentine’s Day. There is no shortage of mobile ways to foster romance, especially with the plethora of dating and messaging apps out there. However, while a smartphone may seem like the best way to help Cupid’s arrow hit its mark, there are some security and privacy considerations users should be aware of before sharing too much too soon—especially when it comes to love and technology.

We recently released the results of our second annual Love, Relationships and Technology survey, which asked more than 9,000 adults worldwide, between the ages of 18-54, about their private data sharing habits and online behavior when it comes to matters of the heart. The verdict? Bad technology habits are on the rise worldwide, but people are still not taking the steps to protect their information from prying eyes and angry exes.

While the numbers were highest in the U.S., the trend is also growing globally with 31% of people worldwide admitting to sending intimate or racy content to someone. A whopping 95% of those who sent naughty pictures and messages also trusted their partners not to share or post them on social media. Such content may seem completely private, when shared between two consenting devices, but what happens when love turns sour, or hackers break in? The convenience of mobile makes it easier than ever to share photos and videos, but recent data breaches reiterate the realities of digital privacy—or lack thereof.

There are many threats out there targeting mobile devices, and considering their near exponential growth over the last year alone, the addition of sensitive photos and messages can make smartphones and tablets even more tempting for criminals. From leaked phone numbers and text conversations in mobile messaging apps to PIN-cracking malware and other threats, that steamy photo or text could end up in places far beyond the recipient’s inbox and out of your control.

Aside from sending intimate content, respondents worldwide also admitted to some other naughty behavior including saving risky photos and messages on their devices, cyber-stalking and snooping, as well as sharing too much personal information with a significant other.

  • 60% of people who have sent or received intimate content have it saved or stored on their devices.
  • On top of saving risky content, 28% have snooped on the content of a significant other’s text messages and photos.
  • Beyond mobile snooping, 15% even tracked their significant other on his/her social media account.
  • Oversharing is also a problem worldwide with 43% sharing bank account details and 38% sharing passwords with their partner.

While mobile technologies may give people many more avenues to express their feelings and share connections with that special someone, they also present new ways to spy on and scorn them. Relationships are about mutual respect and trust, but personal safety should come first before sharing sensitive information such as passwords and racy images. Keep your mobile devices safe with top-of-the-line security and always exercise caution when sending messages and photos—even to your significant other. Because once it’s out there, it’s never coming back.

Moreover, you can protect all of your data from lovers and hackers alike with comprehensive security measures. McAfee® Mobile Security, available for both iOS and Android, comes with many features to help keep your private information private—even in the event your device is lost or stolen.




The Futures Company and MSI conducted surveys in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Japan, Mexico, China, India, Singapore and Brazil among 9,337 men and women, ages 18 to 54. The survey was conducted in December 2013 – January 2014.



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