Home » News » Security » Curiosity Wins: One in Three Would Snoop Around on Other People's Computers
35.2 per cent of PC users would take the opportunity to access other people’s computers. This is what Avira found in its current online study “Monthly question of conscience”. Under the motto “Cross my heart”, Avira sounds out visitors to its website www.free-av.de on a variety of subjects regarding IT security. In March, the well known AntiVir producer wanted to know how things stand with the privacy of other people’s PCs. A total of 6,623 users provided information on whether they would like to snoop around on other people’s computers and, if so, on whose.
For 64.8 per cent of users who responded to the Avira survey spying on other people’s computers is an absolute taboo. The other third, according to the study, is less moral. The PCs of complete strangers appear to be particularly attractive: if the opportunity arose, about 10 per cent of participants in the survey would not hesitate from sifting through other people’s computers, whereas they demonstrated more self-control in a working environment. Although the computers of colleagues and supervisors could be presumed to contain valuable information such as salary lists or details of personnel meetings, only 3.9 per cent would like to take a closer look at company computers.
The principle of “Trust is good, control is better” also applies to private life: 12.3 per cent obviously assume that their partner has secrets and would love to take a look at the computer of their nearest and dearest. The all-clear cannot be given among one’s circle of friends either, according to the Avira survey. About 8 per cent admitted that snooping around on the computers of acquaintances is tempting. In contrast, the computers of family members and relatives appear to contain uninteresting data, since only 1.9 per cent of the respondents were interested in them.
“About a third of participants in the study had no scruples about taking a furtive look at other people’s computers”, says Tjark Auerbach, the founder and CEO of Avira. “It is therefore all the more important to protect your PC with a good password, which you naturally keep to yourself. A good password consists of at least six characters and is made up of a combination of letters, numbers and special characters.” Those who really want to be sure that information cannot be accessed or even misused by friend or foe is advised by the security expert to use modern encryption solutions. “Attempts at espionage are then bound to fail, since unauthorized persons only see an illegible scramble of data on the computer.” To prevent data loss through willful deletion by unauthorized third parties, regular back-ups are a must. In an emergency, solutions such as Avira UnErase can be used to recover inadvertently deleted data.