The saying goes ‘don’t mix business with pleasure’, but research from Kaspersky Lab reveals 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 11 per cent of the online dating population is made up of business owners or company heads, with a further 20 per cent identifying themselves as mid-level managers. But their online dating habits are potentially putting large amounts of confidential business data at risk.
Indeed, high-level managers appear more eager to share work information. Just 12 per cent of the entire online dating population shares their place of work in their profile, compared to 22 per cent of business heads. Furthermore, 10 per cent of people are ready to share details about their work or trade secrets, but this rises to 24 per cent for business owners or company heads. Moreover, 26 per cent of online daters in general admit to sharing professional information with matches after several days of communication, while 38 per cent 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. Over half (51 per cent) of online daters 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. Our research revealed that 38 per cent of online daters also use their device to store work emails and 33 per cent 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.
What’s also worrying is that many 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 a quarter (27 per cent) of online daters use a security solution to protect their device and only a third (33 per cent) share limited information, while 16 per cent do nothing at all to protect themselves because they don’t see a risk.
But, as our research shows, cyber risks can come from multiple different directions. For example, nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of business heads have had their device infected with malware, spyware or ransomware via an online dating platform, while 9 per cent have faced people who used a fake online identity.
“With plenty of business owners and senior business leaders using digital dating services, it is worrying that many seem willing to share sensitive company information” said David Emm, principal security researcher, Kaspersky Lab. “Business devices need to be protected but, further to this, business owners and senior business leaders need to be vigilant. They must also exercise caution when it comes to giving away too much about themselves or their company on their public profile or to potential dates – and beyond. This advice also goes far beyond online dating; individuals should always protect themselves and their personal information online, no matter where they work and what device they use.”
To help protect business users from cybercriminals that lurk in the online dating world, Kaspersky Lab offers a range of next-generation cybersecurity solutions based on a unique combination of big data threat intelligence, machine learning and human expertise that can be installed and managed by anyone, even those without special IT security skills.
Smaller businesses can protect themselves with Kaspersky Small Office Security, which provides reliable protection across computers, file servers and mobile devices to guard companies from malware, financial fraud, ransomware and data loss. Businesses can also secure mobile workforces and their devices – including BYOD scenarios – from cyberthreats thanks to the default security profiles developed by Kaspersky Lab in Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud. One profile covers various device types and platforms ― Windows, Mac, iOS and Android ― that are all managed via a cloud-based platform.
Find out more about the research and read the report: “Dangerous Liaisons: is everyone doing it online?”, by clicking here. To explore Kaspersky Lab product portfolio for SMB, please visit our official website.