More than half (59%) of women in South Africa value the photos and videos they store on their phones more than anything else on the device – compared to 43% of men.
However, according to a survey by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International survey, while more than a quarter of women worry about the online safety of these images, many still fail to implement even basic security measures.
The study globally also found that while women are more likely than men to share with others photos of themselves (48%) and of people they know (40%) – compared to 43% and 33% of men respectively – one of their greatest security concerns, named by 29%, is the safety of their pictures and videos should a cyber-criminal gain access to their device.
Locally, one in four women worries that these images and other information could be shared inappropriately or without their consent, causing embarrassment and hurt if sent to the wrong person (45%) or even damage relationships (41%).
Despite this, many fail to appreciate how vulnerable they are to possible cyber-attacks – just 25% believe they could be a target, compared to 26% of men. As a result they don’t implement safety measures to safeguard their treasured photographs or other sensitive information stored on their device. Unlike men, up to 16% of women locally admit they don’t protect their device with a password and 15% of women do not use any form of security solution at all.
This lack of understanding about risk is confirmed by the fact that in a recent global security quiz, 27% of women admitted that they do not backup their devices, thereby risk losing all precious photos, videos and files if their device is stolen or damaged. Men are more prepared by comparison, with 80% of men agreeing that they backup their devices.
“It is not surprising that women use and value the information stored on connected devices differently from men. Devices play an important role in storing and sharing our happy memories and maintaining our relationships through email and text,” says David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
“Women worry more about the emotional impact on others should their devices be stolen or hacked. Celebrities aren’t the only ones to worry about what might happen if their private images were to be publically exposed. The only way to prevent this from happening is to take basic security precautions to keep what’s precious safe and so this Women’s Day, we encourage women to start effectively protecting their devices to keep their precious information and photos safe.”
In order to prevent cybercriminals from accessing images, videos and other precious data, files stored on digital devices should be protected by passwords and encryption. Files should also be regularly backed up so that if the device is stolen or damaged, they are not lost forever. If this data is shared or copied, it should be encrypted, so that even if it falls into the wrong hands, it will remain protected.