Love can lead to leaked personal data, depressing pre-Valentine’s Day survey finds

With Valentine’s Day coming next week, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how much that special someone means to you — and how they could royally screw you over if you’ve shared all your passwords with them, and then break up.

The results of McAfee Canada’s annual Love, Relationships and Technology survey don’t bode well for people who feel the need to show their love through electronic means. According to the survey, about 10 per cent of adults have had personal content leaked to others by their partner without permission. And considering the type of ‘personal’ content that is sent over Valentine’s Day, that can lead to some pretty embarrassing situations.

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When you start looking at the numbers of the survey, it’s easy to see how those personal files can end up getting out. Only four in ten users lock their mobile devices with a password, yet 60 per cent say they have personal or intimate photos, emails and text messages on their phone. Another 23 per cent say they plan on sending some of those personal or intimate files to their partner via mobile device — and that’s likely setting at least a few people up for some disappointment down the road.

Canadians are still less likely to send intimate photos or emails to their partners than those in the U.S. bitten by the love bug. You can see the U.S. data from this study in the infographic below:

(Handout image from McAfee)If you don’t want to end up having your naughty Valentine’s Day images spread around, you can take a couple of simple steps to protect yourself:

  • Don’t share your password with your partner. If you do tell them and you end up breaking up, be sure to change your passwords immediately, because you never know what could happen with a disgruntled former fling.
  • Make sure your devices are protected with passwords so someone can’t accidentally stumble across your private information or photos.
  • If you really want to make sure you don’t have photos, emails and text messages leaked to people you don’t want to see them, there’s a simple solution: don’t send them in the first place!

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