Covering Your Ass-ets: Average Internet User Risks $37,000 In Online Accounts


If you’re like most people, you are not covering your “ass-ets” across all digital devices.

A global study from McAfee revealed that consumers place an average value of $37,438 on the “digital assets” they own across multiple digital devices, yet more than 33% lack protection across computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Despite the high financial and emotional value of their assets stored in various places, 32% of the consumers who don’t use security protection on all of their devices still don’t think they need it.

However, 86% did agree that purchasing security protection was money well spent (ahem, like using a personal VPN).

There were several other categories from the McAfee “Digital Assets” survey, which revealed how people are living with multiple devices, the consumer value of those devices, and how those devices are being protected.

Living in a Multi-Device World

  • Twenty-five percent of consumer Internet users now own at least five devices per household, with 60% 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, including entertainment files, photos, emails, health records, insurance records, resumes, portfolios, cover letters, 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.

Consumer technology expert Jennifer Jolly pointed out that most parents wouldn’t dream of leaving a stack of their child’s photos, their family bank statements, or other personal information just lying around for strangers to sift through.

“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?” she asked.


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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.