Sex Matters: Men, Women Differ on Data Security

LiveScience.com

Two Microsoft studies have found that when it comes to technology, men and women may have different priorities when it comes to staying safe and secure.

The first study, which surveyed more than 10,000 mobile and desktop users worldwide, found that 35 percent of men kept their mobile devices protected behind a passcode and used secured wireless networks to go online.

Women, the study found, took those same security precautions at a slightly lower rate of 32 percent.

Following that trend, 32 percent of men kept the software on their mobile devices up-to-date, an important defense against malware attacks. Only 25 percent of women did.

The numbers seem to show that men take mobile security slightly more serious than their female counterparts, but also that both sexes adopt these common-sense security precautions at an abysmally low rate.

"Although we're all bothered by certain mobile phone behaviors, the more important point is knowing how to help protect one's device and information from scammers, rogue software and the oversharing of digital details," Jacqueline Beauchere, chief online safety officer at Microsoft, said in a statement. "We know from earlier research that men and women practice mobile safety very differently."

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Despite their slight edge in security, men appear to fall victim to mobile-based attacks more frequently than women. They receive slightly more phishing emails, intrusive pop-ups and messages from impostors.

When it comes to defending their reputations, women tend to be more cautious than men about what they're willing to share online, the study found.

Women are also more likely to take steps to control what's visible to strangers on social media. The study also found that women are less cavalier than men when it comes to the content of their text messages.

A different Microsoft survey, this one conducted on Facebook, asked more than 800 people about their mobile pet peeves.

Many respondents cited loud talkers, constant phone checking and socially inappropriate use of mobile phones as among their top annoyances.

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