Half of Australians admit to “sexting”

Half of Australians admit to “sexting”

Latest research by McAfee discovers one in two Australians and exchanging sexual content over mobiles

Australians are not shy about sharing risqué content over their mobile phones, a recent McAfee survey has found.

The security vendor’s Love, Relationships and Technology research found 48 per cent of Australians are sending and receiving sexual content.

This number encompasses messages, emails, videos and photos from mobile devices.

The survey result raises question of whether users are unaware of the potential pitfalls of exchanging sexual content, or whether they know the risks and are not concerned by them.

McAfee Asia-Pacific CTO, Sean Duca, said it is difficult to assume if users are aware.

“Often users will look for convenience over security foregoing the safeguards of protecting their data,” he said.

Past lessons

Incidents of sexting going bad have been happening for years, and former Australian cricketer, Shane Warne, was embroiled in his own scandal as recently as 2010.

Despite high profile cases such as this, the results from McAfee’s suggest incidents such as this have not made people think twice about exchanging risqué content.

In fact, the research found 98 per cent of respondents trust the recipient to not post photos, texts or emails online.

“Clearly people are be a little too trusting and don’t realise the consequences of sharing too much personal information,” Duca said.

Despite the high level of trust, the survey found 13 per cent of Australians had their personal content leaked without their permission, with 15 per cent and ten per cent of women falling victim.

Password protecting

Content is not the only information being sharing over mobile devices, with 43 per cent of respondents admitting to sharing the passwords or passcodes to their devices.

Added to this is the result that 30 per cent of Australians are not password protecting their mobile devices.

As for why users continue to not password protect their devices, Duca said it is just another case where convenience wins over practicality, and users do not understand the risks or consequences of the approach.

“Using a pin or password can safeguard a user's privacy if their device is lost or stolen,” he said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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