Symantec recently released details of the study it recently conducted called the Honey Stick Project. The project deals with smartphone loss. The company deliberately “lost” 50 smartphones, which contain a number of simulated personal and corporate data. These phones also contain the capability to remotely monitor what happens to these phones and also contain “data” about the owner of the smartphone that can be contacted by the person who found the phone if they want to return it.
The phones were equipped with apps that Symantec itself created – this includes apps that transmit the device ID, app name and the time of activation whenever an app was accessed on the phone. A GPS tracking app was also installed that transmitted the phone’s location to Symantec at regular intervals. The phones were not outfitted with any kind of security that will lock out people who try to access the device.
Of the 50 phones in the program, only 25 of those who found the phone attempted to contact the owner of the device and return it. But more than this, the project reported that 90 percent of the devices showed that the people who found them attempted to access the apps that are located in the personal category. For instance, there was an app that was called Private Pix and this was accessed in 72 percent of the devices. Social networking apps were accessed on 60 percent of the devices, and online banking apps were accessed on 40 percent of the phones.
Symantec advises smartphone users to use security apps for their phones that will remotely lock the device or wipe data, or at the very least use strong passwords for the home screen. The company also said that “draw to unlock” security is much stronger than traditional passwords.