Lost Smartphones Recovered Only 55% of the Time: California Study

One wise old man opined that the true nature of people would be revealed as soon as the matter turned to money and that with sorrow would people’s general lack of integrity be manifest. Apparently, the same holds true for smartphones because when lost the rate of recovery is only 55%. Even in cases where the phone is returned, the person initially finding the phone will go through its personal contents such as text messages, photographs, etc. These conclusions were drawn by tech security firm Symantec.

The California-based company known for anti-virus software conducted the test on Canadians and the results reflect poorly on the general public. Symantec dropped 60 smartphones across Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Each phone contained a special app to track both its whereabouts and the keystrokes entered on the phone. In fact, Symantec cleverly disguised the tracking apps as eye catching icons to bait users into launching the tracking software. A review of the results confirmed what the wise old man had said that with sorrow would one see the lack of personal integrity.

In one instance, a bystander retrieved one of the dropped phones half an hour after it was strategically dropped. The user accessed an app labeled “HR Salaries” presumably to look at the personal income of other people. The user later went onto access a password app and attempt to access the would-be owner’s bank account and social networking account. Symantec concluded that if a smartphone is ever lost, its contents will be perused. While some would think e-mail, text, and photos would be the most popular items roving eyes would want to read, they were not. Yes, it is true they are popular, but what topped the list were social networking and corporate apps. Symantec advises uses to make use of well-chosen passwords and software encryption.

Darrell Tachuck

Darrell Tachuck is the senior editor for Herald Keepers. Darrell has been working as a journalist for nearly a decade having published pieces in many print and digital publications including the Times of San Diego and the Huffing Post. Darrell is based in San Diego and covers issues affecting his city and state. When he’s not busy in the newsroom, Darrell enjoys spending time surfing.

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