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And, 51% of online daters admit to using a device that they use for work to carry out their online dating activities, despite the fact that they may be putting confidential corporate data at risk by doing so. So why are these people going online to start up relationships with others?Certainly, online dating provides all the convenience of making it quick and easy to meet people.While many different types of people go online to date – and they do it for multiple reasons, our study also asked people about what they get up to when they are dating online, in order to understand the potential security implications. We found that a worrying number of online dating users are, through their profiles, placing sensitive information about themselves into the public domain, which could potentially lead them to harm if the information was to fall into the wrong hands.It’s all in the profile The profile is understandably a crucial part of online dating. It acts as a window, or a preview of a person, enticing others to reach out to them or find out more. For example, one-in-ten online dating users have shared their full home address publicly on their profile, have shared details about their work/ trade secrets, or personal details about their family in this way.Plus, it’s an activity that’s available across multiple devices, at all times of day and night.
But the way we communicate, meet and express our love has changed dramatically since then, and when Pew Research Centre repeated the study ten years later, the number that considered online dating to be a good way of meeting people had grown to 59%.
Is the profile crucial to the success of online dating? Many share photos of themselves or their loved ones this way – 15% using online dating have shared photos of their family publicly by displaying them on their profile and 17% have shared photos of their friends.
Even more worryingly, one-in-ten (9%) have even shared intimate photos of themselves publicly on their profile, literally exposing themselves to the danger of having their precious or sensitive images mistreated by total strangers.
Considering all of this, perhaps it’s no surprise our study found that as many as 32% of Internet users are dating online.
So, if one-in-three people out there are doing it, who is the typical online dater?
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All of this information, in the wrong hands, can be used to track online dating users and their families online and offline, to crack their accounts by guessing passwords, for blackmail, and more.