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Study shows most people who find a lost phone will try to access its data


A new study conducted by private software company Symantec Corp discovered some unsettling information about stolen cell phones. Not only is losing a phone a financial burden for the person who lost their smartphone, but the person who took it will likely examine the contents of the device, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The researchers deliberately lost 50 smartphones in five different cities – New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and Ottawa, Canada. These phones were previously loaded with fake applications and a GPS tracking device to help the company track everything the person who picks up the lost phone does while its in their posession.

After analyzing the findings, it was determined that 96 percent of people who find a lost phone will attempt to access the device, while 89 percent will access it for personal applications and information, according to the news source. Additionally, there is a 50 percent chance that the finder will attempt to return the lost device.

The results also showed that six out of 10 finders tried to access social media information and email, eight out of 10 tried to access corporate information and half of the individuals went as far to access a bank account on the device, the media outlet reports.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek Technology, not only is the information unsettling for the individual, but companies are also fearful of their business information being leaked through these mobile devices. Many businesses and companies can be accessed by employees through their smartphones, which heightens the risk of a security breach if the phone is misplaced or stolen, the media outlet reports. This issue is prompting companies to boost their security measures, especially because the number of employees accessing the company information through their cell phone or tablet has boosted in recent years.

“We’re having to move very quickly to match the innovation happening in the mobile device world,” Francis deSouza, the group president of corporate product services, told the news source. “It exceeds what we saw in the PC world.”

Individuals who fear that their phone will get stolen and their information will be looked at may want to invest in cell phone tracking software, which can identify not only where a phone is, but what a person did while they had the misplaced cell phone.