Are online daters giving away too much about themselves?
Are they, through online dating, exposing themselves and their devices to malicious people – or indeed malware – all too easily?
How we conduct our relationships is changing, and it’s clear that technology has a key part to play in this change.
To understand the topic better and to help users protect themselves when they are dating online, Kaspersky Lab has undertaken a study into people’s online dating habits. An online survey conducted by research firm B2B International and Kaspersky Lab in August 2017 assessed the attitudes of 21,081 users aged over 16 years old from 32 countries.
This report outlines the responses of 6,458 online dating users from 30 of the countries surveyed (answers from respondents in China and the UAE have been excluded) regarding their online activity, including the types of devices they use, the kind of information they share, and any concerns they might have about online dating apps and services.
All of this information, in the wrong hands, can be used to track online dating users and their families online and offline, to crack their accounts by guessing passwords, for blackmail, and more.
What’s more, this risky sharing happens faster than you might expect.
Testament to this fact, when Pew Research Centre first questioned Americans about online dating in 2005, just 44% said the activity is a good way to meet people, and the majority thought it was a poor replacement for striking up relationships in the ‘real’ world.
But the way we communicate, meet and express our love has changed dramatically since then, and when Pew Research Centre repeated the study ten years later, the number that considered online dating to be a good way of meeting people had grown to 59%.
Is the profile crucial to the success of online dating? Many share photos of themselves or their loved ones this way – 15% using online dating have shared photos of their family publicly by displaying them on their profile and 17% have shared photos of their friends.
Even more worryingly, one-in-ten (9%) have even shared intimate photos of themselves publicly on their profile, literally exposing themselves to the danger of having their precious or sensitive images mistreated by total strangers.
This tech-savvy age group is likely embracing online dating as a way to meet interesting new people while balancing busy professional lives.