Safety tips for online dating

BitDefender cautioned online daters about the increased security risks associated with looking for love online this year and their unique susceptibility to identity theft and online scams.

While there are many respectable and reliable e-dating services, online daters should be extremely careful when choosing the best service to meet their needs. Before subscribing, users should always search for positive testimonials and Website reviews, as well as the advice of a trustworthy person who has already used the service. BitDefender also advises against subscribing to a dating service discovered via spam e-mails, which could result in identity theft or becoming the recipient of additional spam.

Starting out with an online dating service, users should always provide as little detail as possible and employ nicknames or aliases in lieu of real names. If possible, they should create and use an alternative email account, ensuring the security of their personal account and work information. Users should never reveal sensitive private data such as a home or work addresses, phone numbers or Social Security numbers.

“Even the most trivial information — like your mother’s maiden name or first pet’s name — can be exploited by cybercriminals. Many of these details may seem unimportant, but they can serve as password recovery hints for email addresses or online banking accounts. Moreover, online daters must be careful never to share financial data, such as bank accounts, credit card numbers or PINs” added Cosoi.

Additional e-threats this Valentine’s Day may also include:

  • Graffiti and other types of spam distributed via social networks, which direct to malicious websites that spread Trojans, rogue antivirus, key loggers and other types of malware
  • Email spam exploiting Valentine’s Day to advertise goods and services
  • Email attachments attempting to deliver different breeds of malware under the innocent cover of a short, funny movie (which requires a special codec to be played), slide show or e-card.

BitDefender offers the following additional tips to keep computers and personal information safe:

  • Don’t open e-mail from unknown sources. Many viruses spread via email messages, so always ask for a confirmation from the sender if you are in doubt.
  • Don’t open attachments in emails with suspicious subject lines right away. Instead, save them to your hard disk and scan them with an updated antivirus program.
  • Delete any chain emails or unwanted messages. Don’t forward them or reply to their senders. These kinds of messages are considered spam because they’re unsolicited and can overload Web traffic.
  • Update your system and applications as often as possible. Some operating systems and applications can be set to update automatically. Make full use of this feature. Failure to patch your system often may leave it vulnerable to threats.
  • Don’t copy any file from a source you don’t know or trust. Check the source of files you download and make sure that an anti-malware program has already verified the files at their source.
  • Use an integrated security solution that includes anti-malware, anti-spam and firewall, as well as advanced features, such as Web Filtering and Identity Protection.

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