November 20, 2017

Business leaders creating security risks for companies through online dating habits

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.

Woburn, MA – November 20, 2017 – New research from Kaspersky Lab has revealed that many business leaders who use online dating services have admitted to divulging details about their workplace or trade secrets when looking for matches online, unwittingly putting their companies at risk. Additionally, the research found that a number of business owners and managers use work devices for online dating purposes, creating an inadvertent threat to their organizations. 

Many people in management roles may not see the harm in mixing business with pleasure. However, they are potentially putting large amounts of confidential business data at risk by incorporating details about their work lives into online dating profiles. Kaspersky Lab’s study into the attitudes of people who use online dating services found that 11 percent of the online dating population is made up of business owners or company heads, while 20 percent identify themselves as mid-level managers. 

Business managers appear more eager to share work information with potential matches, according to the research findings. Just 12 percent of the entire online dating population shares their place of work in their profile, compared with 22 percent of those in management roles. Furthermore, 10 percent of people are ready to share details on the nature of their work or trade secrets on dating sites, but this rises to 24 percent for business owners or company heads. 

After several days of communication, 26 percent of online daters in general are willing to provide matches with details on their profession and company. In comparison, 38 percent of business heads are ready to share this information with matches in this same time frame. Sharing detailed workplace or industry information not only makes confidential information freely accessible to matches, but it also has the potential to result in more serious consequences – such as corporate espionage – if this data falls into the wrong hands. 

Failure to separate work and pleasure was also highlighted in the relaxed attitude of survey respondents towards device usage when looking for love online. Over half (51%) 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. Kaspersky Lab’s research revealed that 38 percent of online daters use personal devices to store work emails and 33 percent store work-related files. This demonstrates that for business owners and employees, a security breach of an online dating service could also have an impact on company data. 

Furthermore, the research found that many users of online dating services are not securing their devices properly or considering the consequences of the information that they are making publicly available online. Only a quarter (27%) of online daters use a security solution to protect their devices, and only a third (33%) share limited information on their profile. Moreover, 16 percent of people using online dating services do nothing at all to protect themselves or their devices, because they do not see these services as a risk. 

This lax attitude towards security when dating online demonstrates a major problem for both businesses and consumers, as online dating sites can come with increased security risks. For example, nearly one-in-five (19%) business leaders have had their device infected with malware, spyware or ransomware via an online dating platform, while one-in-ten (9%) 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 users of online dating sites should be cautious about the amount of information they are making available in the bid to secure interest from a potential match.” 

To help protect against cybercriminals that lurk in the online dating world and beyond, Kaspersky Lab offers a range of next-generation cybersecurity solutions for businesses. Smaller businesses can protect themselves with Kaspersky Small Office Security, which provides reliable protection across computers, file servers and mobile devices. Larger companies can also secure mobile workforces and their devices, including BYOD scenarios, using default security profiles developed by Kaspersky Lab in Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud

To learn more about the research and to read the report, “Dangerous Liaisons: Is everyone doing it online?” visit our blog. To explore the Kaspersky Lab product portfolio for SMBs, please visit our 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 specialized 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.com.

 

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Media Contact
Sarah Kitsos 
781.503.2615
sarah.kitsos@kaspersky.com