Smartphones: What to do if You Lose One

Smartphones are essential tools today, but what happens after you lose your phone?

The security risk of lost smartphones

The number of people who attempt to access private data when faced with a lost smartphone is unnerving. Researchers at Symantec created the “Smartphone Honey Stick Project” to test this, and found that around 96 percent of people attempted to access personal information and 45 percent of people tried to access the corporate e-mails on lost smartphones. By far the most unnerving part about this is the fact that smartphones are extremely easy to lose.

Human nature and smartphone tech

The Symantec study was in essence studying human nature. 50 smartphones were left in large cities in North America; namely New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Ottawa. Lots of files the phones contained were fake and had enticing labels that include “online banking” and “saved passwords”.

Ultimately, the results were that 72 percent of people that found the “lost” phone accessed the photos. So, people are curious. That’s no crime. But 43 percent of individuals attemptedto access the “online banking” files. That is a little more telling.

Protecting your smartphone

These numbers might be frightening but there are things that people can do to defend themselves in case they misplace their smartphones.

The most convenient way to safeguard the data on your smartphone is to set up a secure password. It might seem obvious, nevertheless you would be surprised at how many people don’t password protect their phones. There are many apps that securely lock specific apps or files. A less obvious option is to subscribe to a service that allows you to remotely wipe your smartphones memory. Regardless of which method you employ, it’s crucial that you take some method of securing your smartphone in case of loss or theft.