Study Reveals Majority of Adults Share Intimate Details Via Unsecured Digital Devices

Seventy Percent of 18 - 24 Year Olds Receive Sexually Suggestive Content, and Nearly Half Share Passwords

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Feb. 4, 2014 — Today, McAfee released the findings from their 2014 Love, Relationships & Technology survey. For a second year in a row, the company examined how more than 1,500 consumers are sharing and storing intimate data on their mobile devices, especially with current or former significant others. The study highlights how sharing personal content such as suggestive texts, naked photos, suggestive video and passcodes on these devices can potentially lead to cyber-stalking and the exposure of private content leaking online.

While 98% of respondents use their mobile device to take photos, 54% send or receive intimate content including video, photos, emails and messages. Of those surveyed, 69% are securing their smartphone with a password or passcode, a 30 percentage point increase from last year’s result.  However, 46% of U.S. adults still share their passwords with another individual (down from 54%), while 42% use the same password across multiple devices, increasing the likelihood that these mobile devices will become hacked.

“With all the stories we’ve heard about intimate photos being leaked, it’s hard to believe people are still sharing their passwords,” said Gary Davis, vice president of McAfee consumer business. “Ultimately, they’re increasing the risks of these photos becoming public and possibly jeopardizing their identity and reputation. Consumers must take precautions and use mobile security to ensure that what should be private stays private.”

McAfee advises consumers not to share passwords or codes for mobile devices with others to help keep their content secure. Mobile users should avoid using weak passwords that can be easily determined such as birthdays, numbers in a row or repeat numbers for their devices. Rather, six-digit passcodes and words translated into numbers using your mobile keypad are stronger and should be utilized.

Additional findings from the survey include:

For Your Eyes Only
Seventy percent of 18 - 24 year olds receive sexually suggestive content from someone, the largest percentage of all age groups. More men are likely to use their mobile device to send and receive similar content (61% men vs. 48% women). Forty-five percent of U.S. adults say they stored intimate content that they have received in comparison to 40% who store risqué photos, videos or messages they have sent. Of those who have sent intimate or racy content, 77% have sent this content to their significant other, while 1 in 10 individuals have sent similar content to a total stranger.

Privacy Gender Gap
According to the survey, more men than women protect their mobile devices (74% men vs. 65% women). Given the desire to protect their mobile devices and its content more than two-thirds of men are interested in purchasing biometric security embedded capabilities (e.g. face recognition, voice recognition, fingerprint recognition, etc.)

The Case of the Ex
While 96% of U.S. adults surveyed trust their significant other with intimate content or otherwise private information they have sent, only 32% have asked their partner to delete the information when ending the relationship. In addition to sharing passwords, 50% share mobile phone content and 48% share email accounts. Yet, a quarter of respondents have taken their partner’s mobile device to see other content stored on it, including messages and photos. One in five people are likely to log into their significant other’s Facebook account at least once a month, and only 30% of those surveyed admitted to stalking their significant other’s ex on social media, with 18 to 24 year olds being the top age group.

Public Display of Online Affection
With 91% of respondents on a social media platform (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), of those who answered they would be celebrating Valentine’s Day on social media, 76% of respondents plan to post messages to others while 58% will post photos. Of those that responded, more women than men plan to celebrate their love on social media on Valentine’s Day (80% women vs. 72% men).

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About the study
The Futures Company conducted a total of 1,519 online interviews in the U.S. among adults ages 18-54. Interviews among respondents were split evenly by age and gender, and achieved geographic distribution according to the US census. The interviews were conducted from December 3 - December 16, 2013.

About McAfee
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. McAfee delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe. More information is available at


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Kim Eichorn
(408) 455-2172

Eva Ross
(212) 981-5218