12. april 2016

Careless online data sharing can damage friendships, relationships and careers

According to a study by Kaspersky Lab, people are still carelessly sharing private information over the Internet despite the consequences

According to a study by Kaspersky Lab, people are still carelessly sharing private information over the Internet despite the consequences. 28 per cent of people share confidential data by accident, while 16 per cent willingly disclose secrets about themselves – despite the fact that information shared online can cost them a relationship or a job.

The survey, which was conducted in co-operation with B2B International, questioned more than 12,000 people worldwide and found that many people risk sharing personal data through online communication channels, even though there are security risks in doing so. This might include: a photo of themselves (45 per cent), their contact details (42 per cent), a photo of another person (32 per cent), sensitive personal details (30 per cent) and work-related data (20 per cent) online. Further, and potentially even more seriously, one-in-six shared a secret about themselves (16 per cent), while nine per cent communicated private information about another person and eight per cent shared sensitive financial details.

This is despite the fact that half are deeply worried about the damaging impact of such information being made public – both in terms of financial loss and emotional distress.  A third was worried that it could damage relationships, embarrass or offend someone and one-in-six (15 per cent) was afraid that it could harm their career.

This level of concern is often justified. 28 per cent admitted they have accidentally shared confidential data and one-in-ten have suffered as a result. Of those that suffered, the consequences included losing friends (20 per cent), being bullied (17 per cent), suffering financial loss (15 per cent), the end of a relationship (13 per cent) and being dismissed from their job (13 per cent).

However, 13 per cent still don’t take any precautions to keep their online activities and information safe, and a mere four-in-ten keep interactions with close family and friends separate from other activity (43 per cent)  or double-check all messages and posts before sending (39 per cent).  A quarter try to avoid sending or sharing information when they’ve had a drink and a guilt-ridden 29 per cent opt for the largely ineffective measure of hastily deleting their Internet history after sharing something.

Commenting on the findings, David Emm, Principal Security Researcher from Kaspersky Lab says,Many consumers still struggle to translate risk awareness into caution when it comes to online activity. With so many devices and online channels at our fingertips it’s never been easier to post an unguarded message or accidentally share information with the wrong people. If you are not cyber-savvy enough and you don’t have the proper security and privacy safeguards in place, you could be left with shattered friendships and careers. Once it’s online it’s there forever – so if in doubt, keep it to yourself.

You can check your own level of cyber-savviness here: https://blog.kaspersky.com/cyber-savvy-quiz/. To read more tips on how to protect yourself online, click here: https://blog.kaspersky.com/tag/cybersavvy


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