Privacy risks of online dating: every 6th user has been doxed while looking for a relationship
During the past few decades, the world has rapidly shifted towards digitalization of everyday practices, including dating. In some countries dating apps have become the most popular way for people to meet, while modern couples’ communication is almost unthinkable without social media. However, there is another side of the coin: with love transferring to the digital world, the gathering and public exposure of personal data (also known as “doxing”) have become a major concern.
The Kaspersky team conducted a survey, exposing main threats and fears that users faced while dating online. As a result, the company’s experts found that every 6th user has been doxed while dating online, globally.
In Asia Pacific (APAC), 22% of the respondents admitted experiencing this malicious act, out of which, 14% were doxed while dating online but being unfamiliar with the notion of “doxing”, did not know they were doxed.
With the spread of social networks and dating apps, communication has become easier, faster, and much more convenient. Kaspersky’s research also found out that more than half (64%) of respondents from the region admit that dating apps have made dating easier for them.
However, 65% claim that they are concerned with potentially being stalked by someone they met online, which is one of the consequences of doxing.
“Indeed, social media and various apps have made dating much easier for us. You might find the love of your life online but unfortunately, there are also bots and fraudsters looking for prey on dating platforms. That is why while communicating with someone online, it is still important to remember the basic rules of digital privacy,” comments Anna Larkina, security expert at Kaspersky.
Oversharing personal information in dating apps and social media is something that may lead to big problems in the future. Users leave a vast trace of identifying information online, and this data can be picked up and used to doxers’ advantage.
Doxers’ access to a target’s home address, place of work, name, phone number, etc. increases the risks of transferring threats from the online world to the physical one.
Kaspersky’s fresh research also reveals more details on privacy threats APAC users face when dating online. Almost half (49%) of interviewees admit that, while communicating online, their partner shared screenshots of their conversation without their consent, threatened them with personal information they found online, leaked their intimate photos, or stalked them in real life, which is also a direct consequence of doxing.
The most widespread problem is cyberstalking – 19% of respondents admit that they have been stalked on social media by a person they did not match with.
|Has any of the following happened to you?|
|A person I did not match with stalked me on social media||19%|
|Someone I matched with shared screenshots of our conversations publicly||17%|
|Someone I matched with looked up my personal information and threatened to use it to harm me||14%|
|Someone I did not match with stalked me in real life||13%|
|Someone I matched with shared my intimate photos online||11%|
|No, none of the above||51%|
Threats respondents from Asia Pacific face when dating online
“To date online safely, I recommend not sharing personal identifying information, such as your phone number, location, home, and work address, etc. Preventing threats at such an early stage will let you enjoy online dating without any fears,” adds Larkina.
If you want to learn more about how technologies can change dating and relationships, follow this link: https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/dating-report-2021/.
Learn about the ways users can be doxed and discover how to minimize the risk of having personal information stolen by watching the free “Doxing: dangers and prevention” course, developed by Kaspersky privacy experts together with Endtab.org.
To keep your personal information protected, Kaspersky also recommends:
- Handling private online data responsibly by following the tips from the Kaspersky “Definitive Checklist: how to protect your data online”
- Always checking permission settings on the apps you use, to minimize the likelihood of your data being shared or stored by third parties – and beyond – without your knowledge
- Using two-factor authentication. Remember that using an application that generates one-time codes is more secure than receiving the second factor via SMS. If you need additional security, invest in a hardware 2FA key
- Using a reliable security solution like Kaspersky Password Manager to generate and secure unique passwords for every account, and resist the temptation to reuse the same one over and over again
- Finding out if any of the passwords you use to access your online accounts have been compromised, by using a tool such as Kaspersky Security Cloud. Its Account Check feature allows users to inspect their accounts for potential data leaks. If a leak is detected, Kaspersky Security Cloud provides information about the categories of data that may be publicly accessible, so that the individual affected can take appropriate action
- Always considering how the content you share online might be interpreted and used by others