New research from Kaspersky Lab reveals that business owners and employees could be unwittingly putting their companies at risk, with many of them using work devices to keep up their dating habits, or divulging company secrets when looking for matches.
The study into the attitudes of online dating users shows that 15% of the online dating population locally (based on those surveyed) is made up of business owners or company heads, with a further 18% identifying themselves as mid-level managers. But their online dating habits are potentially putting large amounts of confidential business data at risk.
High-level managers appear more eager to share work information. The study shows that locally 13% of the online dating population shares their place of work in their profile, compared to 16% of business heads.
In addition, 13% of people locally are ready to share details about their work or trade secrets, but this rises slightly to 16% for business owners or company heads. Plus, 18% of online daters in general admit to sharing professional information with matches after several days of communication, while 31% of business heads are ready to do so.
Not only does this leave confidential information freely accessible to other online daters, it also has the potential to result in more serious consequences — such as corporate espionage — if it were to fall into the wrong hands.
Failure to draw a line between work and pleasure was also highlighted in the lax attitude of all research respondents when it comes to looking for love online: 19% of those surveyed locally admit to using the same devices they use for work to carry out their online dating activities, putting corporate documents, emails and even passwords at risk in the process.
The research reveals that 50% of online daters also use their device to store work emails and 47% store files for work use, highlighting that, for business owners and employees, a potential security breach could have a significant impact on their company if this data was to fall into the wrong hands.
Online dating users are not securing their devices properly or considering the consequences of the information that they are making publicly available online or accessible to cybercriminals: only 20% of online daters locally use a security solution to protect their device and 44% share limited information, while 12% do nothing at all to protect themselves because they don’t see a risk.
But the research shows that cyber risks can come from multiple different directions. For example, nearly a fifth (20%) of business heads locally have had their device infected with malware, spyware or ransomware via an online dating platform, while 31% have faced people who used a fake online identity.
“The online dating game can be challenging enough without people falling victim to scammers or unwittingly putting their company at risk,” says Vladimir Zapolyansky, head of SMB business at Kaspersky Lab. “With plenty of business owners and senior business leaders using digital dating services, it is worrying that so many are happy to openly give away company information.
“It is even more concerning that they are making it easy for cybercriminals to access corporate data by not safeguarding their devices. Business devices should be protected and online dating users cautious about the amount of information they are making available in the bid to secure interest from a potential match.”