Nearly every fourth respondent from the Middle East, Turkiye, Africa region (META) gives a name to their personal and home devices. Smartphones are given nicknames most often. These are the results of Kaspersky’s recent survey called “Digital Superstitions” about people’s attitudes towards modern technologies and gadgets.
The survey was conducted by Toluna research agency and commissioned by Kaspersky in 2022. A total of 4,700 people were interviewed from the META region.
Some digital devices may be used by people for many years, and those can play an important role in their everyday life. It is not surprising then that the owners become attached to their devices – and some even form an emotional attachment to their devices that’s comparable to bonds with friends or pets.
Many people treat home devices as if these objects are animate creatures; that they can converse with, or persuade to start working again in case the device is not operating optimally. For example, 88% of META users surveyed talk at their smartphones, 54% to TVs, 48% to laptops, 22% to electric kettles, coffee machines and smart speakers, and 18% to robot vacuum cleaners. According to the Kaspersky survey, 63% of all the respondents speak to their devices in some way – and not to give voice commands, but, for example, ask the device to work, or swear at the device if it freezes, etc. Additionally, 74% of users from META feel empathy for their devices if they get damaged, dropped or broken.
“As people become more attached to their digital devices, they often tend to start treating these devices as if they were their friends or pets – and develop feeling of trust and empathy towards their gadgets. However, it is important to strike a balance here and maintain some objectivity and boundaries – similarly to how one should in all of our interpersonal relationships as well – otherwise there is a risk of facing cybercriminals who can use this trust for their own purposes,” Brandon Muller, technology expert and consultant for the MEA region at Kaspersky, notes. “Excessive trust in digital devices and robotic systems can provoke users to overshare their personal information, decrease their healthy skepticism and cautiousness and as a result make them victims of cybercriminals.”
To ensure the security of personal data, it’s also recommended to follow the safety tips:
- Do not store or post confidential information (phone number, passport scan) on social networks, including in correspondence.
- Share confidential data in encrypted form, for example in an archive with a password.
- Ensure the protection of your accounts by using strong and unique passwords for each service (from 12 characters with letters in different case, numbers and special characters), store them in password managers.
- Set up two-factor authorisation in those services that allow it.
- Use a reliable security solution that will prevent you from going to a phishing site, the purpose of which is to steal personal or payment information.