The online dating game can be challenging enough without people falling victim to scammers or unwittingly putting their company at risk

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 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.

Indeed, 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.

Furthermore, 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. Moreover, 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.

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Failure to draw a line between work and pleasure

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. Our research also revealed 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.

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 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.

Cyber risks can come from multiple different directions

But, as our research shows, 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,” said 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.”

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 the Kaspersky Lab product portfolio for SMB, please visit our official website.

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity company celebrating its 20-year anniversary in 2017. Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into next generation security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialised security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.co.za.