Online dating websites are certainly popular, or at least they appear to be so given the sheer number of them. They are a quick and easy way to meet new people, but unfortunately people seem to also get careless on them. According to research from Kaspersky, oversharing on online dating sites could result in more than you bargained for.
One-in-ten (13%) online dating users admit that they give out personal data to matches within minutes or hours of starting a dialogue, putting themselves at risk. A quarter (25%) admit to sharing their full name publicly on their dating profile; one-in-ten have shared their home address and details about their work or trade secrets this way, and the same proportion have shared naked photos of themselves on their profile, exposing much more than they realise.
Users are even more likely to give up information to those they have been ‘matched’ within the online dating world – 16% give out personal details to matches, with one-in-ten doing so within minutes or hours. 15% tell these people embarrassing things about themselves and 14% provide matches with private or unclothed photos of themselves. If it falls into the wrong hands, this information could be used to exploit users by accessing their accounts and devices, or even for blackmail purposes with cybercriminals demanding money from their victims.
Alongside this need to share so much information, as active Internet users, online daters are exposed to more cyberthreats – with the research showing that 41% of individuals that use online dating have experienced some form of IT security incident, such as having their devices or accounts hacked, or being targeted by ransomware, compared to 20% of people that do not date online. They are, therefore, more vulnerable and susceptible to attack.
This translates into concerns – with online dating users being worried for their safety when they date online. 63% are worried about the device they use for online dating becoming infected and 61% are concerned about their data being stolen or leaked from the dating app or service itself. A staggering 55% overall have experienced some form of threat or problem while dating online – ranging from online to offline threats. Yet despite all of this, a worrying lack of online daters use simple methods to protect themselves, just 21% don’t allow dating apps to access their device data and only 27% use a security or antivirus solution.
“Users need to exercise caution when it comes to giving away too much about themselves on their public profile or to potential dates – and beyond,” said Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab. “Much like you wouldn’t tell a passerby in the street your home address and phone number on first meeting them, users of online dating sites need to take responsibility for the security of their data and not assume that it is secure and untouchable within the site or app. This advice goes far beyond online dating, and Internet users should protect themselves and their personal information online no matter where they are.”