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Two-thirds of Mobile Phone Users Unaware They Could be Spied on Through the Camera While Having Sex, Study Shows

LONDON, September 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --


Kaspersky Lab survey reveals 83 per cent of UK adults never turn connected devices off and 62 per cent don't know the camera function can be hacked 

Few adults would willingly invite strangers into their bedroom while they are having sex or getting undressed, or into their bathroom while they are on the toilet - yet that is exactly what they are risking by failing to grasp the threat posed by cyber criminals hijacking their mobile device camera, a new study[i] by Kaspersky Lab reveals.

Up to 90 per cent of UK adults now own a smartphone[ii], yet two-thirds are unaware that cybercriminals can send malicious software to take over their mobile device camera, stealing private, stored images and taking some very interesting ones of their own. This includes not just deeply invasive and compromising pictures of the phone's owner, but snapshots of credit cards and pictures of young children playing with, or getting dressed in the presence of, the device.

The study found that an overwhelming 83 per cent never turn their mobile phone off, unless the battery dies, and 44 per cent say the same for a tablet. Yet over half (57 per cent) of adults have sex within sight of a camera-enabled mobile phone, tablet, laptop or PC. A third (37 per cent) get undressed in the presence of such devices, and 44 per cent take them into the toilet or the bath (29 per cent). A third (30 per cent) leave sensitive documents or payment cards near their devices; and a quarter (26 per cent) freely allow their children to play with them.

Even more worrying, the minority of consumers who do understand and take action to reduce the risks - just a fifth of mobile phone (20 per cent) and laptop (21 per cent) users and mere 15 per cent of tablet users - often resort to measures that are far from helpful. For example, it is impossible to disconnect the camera function in mobile phones and tablets, so just closing the icon or otherwise attempting to disable it (40 per cent) is never enough. Physically covering the camera with blue tack or a sticker, the second favourite option at 36 per cent, will work, but can trip up unwary consumers who don't realise that many phones now have camera lenses on both sides.

Commenting on the research, Kaspersky Lab's Senior Security Researcher David Emm said, "We think of our mobile devices as our window on the world, not realising that for cybercriminals it could be their window into ours. Hacking into a device's camera offers those with malicious intent access to our images, our most intimate moments, our identities - and the people we want most to protect, such as our children."

The study shows that consumers are often confused about the risk and unsure what to do even when they do understand. Just one in three of those who had done anything to secure their device camera had opted for security software, the only really effective solution.  No-one would leave their home this insecure - eight in ten households in England and Wales have double locks or deadlocks on doors and locks on their windows[iii] - and we shouldn't do this for our devices.

Kaspersky Lab's newly updated product line for home users offers advanced protection for the latest devices, including users of Windows, OS X and Android devices. Every month, Kaspersky Lab detects about 20,000 new samples of malicious software for Android devices alone.

Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device 2015 is easy to install and manage, requiring no specialist IT skills. It includes new features that improve the level of protection against encryption malware, prevent webcam surveillance of the user, and shield against the risks of working on vulnerable Wi-Fi networks.

About Kaspersky Lab 

Kaspersky Lab is the world's largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world's top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than 16-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom, currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at http://www.kaspersky.com.

* The company was rated fourth in the IDC rating Worldwide Endpoint Security Revenue by Vendor, 2012. The rating was published in the IDC report "Worldwide Endpoint Security 2013-2017 Forecast and 2012 Vendor Shares (IDC #242618, August 2013). The report ranked software vendors according to earnings from sales of endpoint security solutions in 2012 

Notes to Press:

Key innovations

In a world of increasingly sophisticated online threats, people want reliable security software capable of fully protecting them from cyber-threats on all the devices they use to interact, shop, and bank online. To secure our customers' data, safeguard their privacy and financial transactions, and help keep their children safe from online harm, Kaspersky Lab is constantly updating and improving the components of its security solutions.

These latest versions of Kaspersky Lab's consumer software incorporate several entirely new technologies that improve the level of protection against encryption malware, prevent webcam surveillance of the user, and shield against the risks of working on vulnerable Wi-Fi networks.

Webcam Protection to protect user privacy

Webcam hacking, or intercepting images from the webcam, is one way of using malware for online espionage. Many users pay little attention to what might be recorded on their webcams - even though the camera could capture images of documents containing bank details, credit cards, or simply personal activities that people prefer not to expose to strangers. For our customers to be confident that they are never observed without their knowledge or consent, Kaspersky Lab has developed the Webcam Protection feature. It helps monitor which applications attempt to connect to the webcam, warns the user of access attempts, and, if necessary, blocks webcam access[1].

Cryptomalware protection to safeguard privacy and data

One of the most serious threats to our customers' documents, pictures, and music comes from so-called cryptomalware, or malware that encrypts files and demands a ransom before restoring access to the information. Once the data is encrypted, not even removing the malware itself can restore access to the encrypted files, so Kaspersky Lab has built a way to regain access to data without paying any ransom. Kaspersky Lab's System Watcher module analyzes all processes running on the operating system, and now features new data backup functionality. When System Watcher detects a suspicious program attempting to modify a user file, it instantly creates a local backup copy of that file, free from any external changes. If further observation indicates that the program that changed the file was malicious, then the changes will be rolled back[1].

Wi-Fi Security Notification

In the hands of criminals, public wireless networks can easily become yet another tool to intercept user data. That's why Kaspersky Lab has introduced a Wi-Fi Security Notification module into the new edition of Kaspersky Internet Security. This module verifies the security of Wi-Fi hotspots and alerts the user to any potential threats, such as a vulnerable network connection or the transmission of an unsecured password via the Internet. Users also receive tips and recommendations on how to securely configure their own home Wi-Fi network[1].

In addition to these key new features, the 2015 versions of Kaspersky Lab's consumer security portfolio includes a number of extra enhancements:

  • Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Anti-Virus now include automatic updates & upgrades when newer versions become available. This innovation means users will always have the most recent and reliable version of their security product without the hassle of manually downloading and installing it[1].
  • Improvements were introduced into the Safe Money module to protect online financial transactions at every stage. Now, Safe Money also blocks third-party applications from accessing the web browser clipboard, which may temporarily contain confidential data (such as copied login credentials). The Safe Money module continues to offer protection from screen-capture technology, malicious browser extensions, and other money-stealing tactics used by cybercriminals[1].
  • For users of paid Wi-Fi networks, 3G or LTE connections, the solution now includes the Cost-Aware Networking feature that reduces the amount of data communicated by the product via the net[2].
  • In the anti-phishing module, which helps the user avoid unwanted and malicious webpages, improvements were introduced into the text, image and website link analysis technology. This leads to faster and more accurate detections of fake websites designed to steal money and sensitive user information.
  • The main menu and interface has been unified across all products so users can easily navigate applications regardless of the operating system or product version. Careful attention to resource consumption has helped improve the effectiveness of security tools without affecting the performance of the operating system.

Renewed solutions

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2015

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2015 is the foundation of our battle with the latest malware. It protects against malicious software, assesses the security of each website a user visits and identifies any suspicious program behavior. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2015 also includes an automatic exploit protection system, which prevents malware from exploiting security gaps in legitimate applications and software used by millions of people across the globe.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2015

Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 provides premium PC protection to protect our customers from all types of Internet threats. In addition to antivirus and anti-phishing protection, it includes a range of other tools and technologies to help protect privacy, personal data and online payments. Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 also enables parents to monitor their children's activity on the Web with the help of the Parental Control module.

Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device 2015

Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device 2015 is a multi-platform integrated security solution. With just one license you can activate Kaspersky Lab products on computers, tablets or smartphones (the combination can vary according to the user's needs, and the number of devices is determined by the purchased license). Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device 2015 protects devices that run under:

  • Microsoft Windows with Kaspersky Internet Security 2015;
  • Apple OS X with Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac. The product blocks malware as well as phishing and other dangerous sites in Safari, Mozilla Firefox browsers or in Google Chrome. The product also integrates virtual keyboard and the Parental Control module;
  • Google Android with Kaspersky Internet Security for Android. It can block dangerous apps, filter out unwanted calls and messages and protect against online fraud. Users can also wipe personal data if their device is lost or stolen, or help locate it using GPS services;
  • Windows Phone and iOS with Safe Browser for Windows Phone and Safe Browser for iOS. Safe Browser filters out phishing sites and pages with undesirable content. Both versions of Safe Browser are free and available from Apple Store and Windows Phone accordingly.

System Requirements

Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device is designed to protect devices running Windows® XP Home Edition / Professional SP3 or higher, Windows® XP Professional x64 Edition SP2 or higher, Windows Vista® Home Basic / Home Premium / Business / Enterprise / Ultimate (x32 and x64**) SP1 or higher, Windows® 7 Starter (x32) / Home Basic / Home Premium / Professional / Ultimate (x32 and x64**) SP1 or higher, Windows® 8/Windows® 8 Pro/Windows® 8 Enterprise (x32 and x64**), Windows® 8.1 / Windows® 8.1 Pro / Windows® 8.1 Enterprise / Windows® 8.1 update (x32 and x64**); Mac OS X 10.6 - 10.9 (system with an Intel processor); Android 2.3 - 4.3.

Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Anti-Virus are designed to protect devices running Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device is designed to protect devices running Windows® XP Home Edition / Professional SP3 or higher, Windows® XP Professional x64 Edition SP2 or higher, Windows Vista® Home Basic / Home Premium / Business / Enterprise / Ultimate (x32 and x64**) SP1 or higher, Windows® 7 Starter (x32) / Home Basic / Home Premium / Professional / Ultimate (x32 and x64**) SP1 or higher, Windows® 8/Windows® 8 Pro/Windows® 8 Enterprise (x32 and x64**), Windows® 8.1 / Windows® 8.1 Pro / Windows® 8.1 Enterprise / Windows® 8.1 update (x32 and x64**).

Editorial contact:

Berkeley PR
Lauren White
[email protected]
Telephone: +44(0)118-909-0909
1650 Arlington Business Park
RG7 4SA, Reading

Kaspersky Lab UK
Ruth Knowles
[email protected]
Telephone: +44(0)7590-440-433
2 Kingdom Street
W2 6BD, London

i. One Poll for Kaspersky Lab, surveyed 2,000 UK adults aged 18-44.  The research took place 14-18 August, 2014.

ii. http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_GB/uk/industries/consumer-business/consumer-review/consumer-review-infographic-fifth-edition/index.htm  

iii. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/focus-on-property-crime--2012-13/rpt---chapter-3---burglary-and-home-security.html?format=print

SOURCE Kaspersky Lab

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