We're all using email to share files, despite security risks

Email overload
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Email is the most common method for sharing files between users despite the fact that it poses the biggest security risk, according to new research from NordLocker.

The company anonymously surveyed 1,400 people in the UK and US in order to learn more about users' habits when it comes to file storage and sharing to reveal that 58 percent of US and 56 percent of UK users prefer to share files over email.

Encryption specialist at NordLocker, Oliver Noble warned about the dangers of sharing files over email, saying:

“Even though email is one of the most popular targets for cyberattacks, people still trust it with their personal information. If your email gets hacked, all of your attachments, such as sensitive documents or private photos, can fall into the hands of criminals.”

Securing sensitive files

In both the US and UK, every second person shares their personal computer with other people including spouses, children or parents. However, security risks increase when more than one person has access to a computer leading users to protect their files in one way or another.

Of those surveyed, 75 percent claim they use some sort of protection for their files with passwords being the most popular choice (46%). NordLocker also found that just 16 percent of users use encrypted cloud storage to protect their files while 12 percent hide their files on a computer manually.

When it comes to what users consider as private information and how valuable they think it is, results differed significantly in the US and UK. US users value their tax records, personally identifiable information and medical records equally while UK users value their photos more than any other type of files stored on their computers.

NordLocker's study also revealed that losing a personal computer or discovering someone else has access to it is almost as concerning as losing a wallet (85%), having important documents stolen (83%) or returning home to find your front door is open (865).

In today's digital age, keeping your sensitive files secured is more important than ever as losing them could potentially lead to identity theft or other serious problems down the road.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.