McAfee Reveals Average Internet User Has More Than $37,000 in Underprotected ‘Digital Assets’

But Consumers Still Don’t Adequately Protect These Assets Across All Their Digital Devices

A McAfee global survey reveals what your digital assets are really worth. (Graphic: Business Wire)

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--()--McAfee (NASDAQ:INTC) today released the results of a new global study, revealing that consumers place an average value of $37,438 on the “digital assets” they own across multiple digital devices, yet more than a third lack protection across all of those devices. In the U.S., people valued their assets at a higher figure than anywhere else, at nearly $55,000.

Research firm MSI International surveyed more than 3,000 consumers in 10 countries about the financial value they would assign to digital assets such as photo libraries, personal information, and entertainment files, as well as their attitudes toward protecting them across computers, tablets and smartphones.

“Most parents wouldn’t dream of leaving a stack of their child’s photos, their family bank statements, online passwords and other personal information just lying around for strangers to sift through,” said Jennifer Jolly, consumer technology expert. “But that’s what you’re risking when you walk around with unprotected smartphones, tablets and other digital devices. Your digital assets are precious, why wouldn’t you safeguard them?”

Despite the high financial and emotional value of their assets stored in various places, 32 percent of the consumers who don’t use security protection on all of their devices still don’t think they need it. Respondents also cited cost as another reason why they are reluctant to purchase security protection for all of their gadgets (31 percent). However, 86 percent of people did agree that purchasing security protection was money well spent.

The number of Internet-connected devices also continues to explode, contributing to rapid changes in the consumer-facing threat landscape.

  • McAfee found that 25 percent of consumer Internet users now own at least five devices per household, with 60 percent owning at least three.
  • According to Consumer Reports, malware cost consumers $2.3 billion last year and caused them to replace 1.3 million PCs. Not only have hackers continued to target PCs, but with the increased popularity of tablets, smartphones and Macs, threats are becoming both more common and more complex for non-PC devices. For example, according to McAfee Labs, malware targeted at Android devices jumped 76 percent in the last three months.

“Consumers recognize the value of their digital assets. While they are more likely to secure their PCs, they often neglect protection for their other Internet-enabled devices,” said Gary Davis, director of consumer product marketing at McAfee. “It’s like installing an expensive home security alarm on the front door, but leaving the windows and back door wide open. It just takes one open window to allow a virus, hacker, or identity thief to wipe out all the digital assets on any given device, having their personal and financial info compromised as a result.”

McAfee is addressing the growing digital needs of today's consumers by launching McAfee All Access; the industry’s first cross-device security solution that protects multiple Internet-enabled devices (PCs, Macs, smartphones, netbooks and tablets) under one annual plan.

Key Findings from the McAfee “Digital Assets” Survey

Living in a Multi-Device World

  • Twenty-five percent of consumer Internet users now own at least five devices per household, with 60 percent owning at least three.
  • Forty-one percent spend more than 20 hours per week using a digital device for personal use.

The Financial and Emotional Value of Digital Assets

  • Regionally, North American respondents (U.S. and Canada) had the highest perceived value of their total digital assets, with an average cited value of $52,154 ($54,722 in the U.S. alone).
  • This is compared with an average value of $28,461 across Europe (U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands), $20,948 in Australia, and $23,938 in Japan.
  • As a global average, respondents had 2,777 digital files stored on at least one digital device, at a total value of $37,438.
    • These assets included: entertainment files (i.e. music downloads), personal memories (i.e. photographs), personal communications, (i.e. emails or notes), personal records (i.e. health, financial, insurance), career information (i.e. resumes, portfolios, cover letters, email contacts) and hobbies and creative projects.
  • Twenty-seven percent of those assets were considered “impossible to restore” if lost and not backed up properly, and had an average value of $10,014.
  • Respondents predicted that it would take them on average 82 hours to restore their digital assets if lost.

Personal Memories Trump Entertainment in Digital Value

  • Personal memories, such as photographs, are the main digital asset that respondents categorized as “impossible to restore” if lost and not backed up (73 percent). Respondents valued personal memories at an average of $18,919, compared to:
    • $6,956 for Personal Records
    • $3,798 for Career Information
    • $2,848 for Hobbies and Projects
    • $2,825 for Personal Communications
    • $2,092 for Entertainment Files

Attitudes toward Online Security and Protection

  • Despite the high value of their digital assets, people still aren’t securing every device they own. The McAfee survey found that more than a third of people (36 percent) don’t have security protection on all of their devices and seven percent have no protection at all - leaving potentially thousands of dollars worth of digital assets at risk, if stored on an unprotected device.
  • Although 86 percent of respondents agreed that purchasing protection of their digital assets is money well spent; in general, less than 50 percent of respondents purchased security solutions as the main way of protecting all or some of their devices.
  • Thirty-nine percent use only free protection on their devices (to protect some or all of them), with another 10 percent using a combination of paid and free solutions. However, when it comes to security software, free is not better. A September 2010 USA TODAY survey of 16 anti-virus companies shows that no-cost anti-virus programs generally lack important features such as a firewall, website health checks, and automatic updates.
  • Cost is one of the main reasons people don’t purchase additional security protection (31 percent said this), but the leading factor was a perceived lack of need for such software (32 percent).
  • Despite the evolving threats across devices like tablets, smartphones and Macs, and the high value of the files stored on these devices, 40 percent of all respondents do not worry much about their protection.

About McAfee

McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), is the world's largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the Web more securely. Backed by its unrivaled Global Threat Intelligence, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security. McAfee is relentlessly focused on constantly finding new ways to keep our customers safe.

Note: McAfee is a registered trademark or trademark of McAfee, or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. © 2011 McAfee All rights reserved.

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H3O Communications
Jennifer Smith, 415-618-8802
Francie Coulter, 408-346-3436


H3O Communications
Jennifer Smith, 415-618-8802
Francie Coulter, 408-346-3436