What really happens when your phone is lost? - | WBTV Charlotte

What really happens when your phone is lost?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -  Have you ever had the sinking feeling that you lost your smart phone only to have someone find it and turn it in?  One study estimates that every American will lose or misplace their phone at least once a year.  What do people really do first when they find a phone?  

Symantec, a security company, did a test. They placed 50 "lost" cell phones in believable yet easy to find places and then watched what people did when they found the phone.  WBTV's cyber expert, Theresa Payton, explains: 


Symantec conducted a test called, "The Honey Stick"

They lost 50 devices in NYC, D.C., L.A., San Fran and Ottawa CN

96% turned on the phone. If it wasn't locked with a password, they checked the email icon and read through emails!  60% looked address books and apps like Facebook. 80% tried to look at files labeled with titles that included "HR" or looked like company information.  Roughly 50% saw an app called "Remote Admin" and tried that app.


1.  Pictures:  personal and images of important docs are typically stored on phones

2.  Payments:  if you use your phone to make or receive payments

3.  Company access:  you might be giving away company secrets via your lost phone 

4.  Automatic Access to Your Life:  If you stay automatically logged into email, apps, or social networking sites you now have your accounts in the hands of a stranger


• 89% of the "lost phones" showed that people tried to access personal apps

• 72% of the "lost phones" had their private photos looked at

• 43% of the "lost phones" showed that someone tried to access their online banking


1.  Automatic lock time out:  Set it to less than 15 minutes to lock your phone with a password

2.  Automatic wipe:  Have a phone locator or wipe feature ready to go in the event your phone is lost or stolen

3.  Prepare now:  the time to figure out what to do is BEFORE you lose your phone.  Go to your vendor's website and look for tips on what to do if your phone is lost.  You may have set up steps that you will need to do while the phone is in your possession so you are ready if something happens


Infographic that shows the test resultshSymantec describes their project.

If you have an iPhone, Apple describes the steps you can take if you lose your phone.

If you have a Droid, Google has tips on how to locate your phone.

Word of the week:  YETTIES:  It's an acronym used to describe the next generation of technology executives - Young Entrepreneur Twentysomething TechIES

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